Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Norton Singers summer musical this season is “Young Frankenstein”, the musical. Based on the classic film directed by Mel Brooks and written by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, the tribute to the Frankenstein movies of the 1940’s is an hilarious spoof of this genre. The story follows bright young Frederick Frankenstein (that’s Fronkenstein) as he attempts to finish his grandfather’s unfinished masterwork of bringing a corpse back to life.
Together with his oddly shaped and endearing helper Igor (that’s Eye-gor), his beautiful curvaceous lab assistant, Inga and in spite of his incredibly involved madcap fiance Elizabeth, Frederick succeeds in creating a monster but not without scary and quite hilarious results. Throw in the mysterious Frau Blucher and assorted wild and crazy characters and you have the ingredients for this tremendously hilarious and fantastically performed musical hit. Director Ted Mitchell creates a high energy musical from start to finish. It will definitely have you rolling in the aisles from nonstop laughter at the expertise of his talented cast which wins them a resounding standing ovation. Musical director Anthony Torelli leads a topnotch 13 piece orchestra to entrance the audience, too.
Ted blocks the show splendidly, obtaining many laughs from the clever lines and shtick. He also has them do funny things during the lyrics to the songs. Choreographer Samantha Brior Jones provides some terrific dance numbers for this show including the magnificent tap dance to “Puttin on the Ritz”, “Join the Family Business” and the manic “Transylvania Mania” to name a few. Mike Davis commands the stage as Frederick with his many hilarious one liners and strong tenor voice. He is a triple threat performer and makes this role his own. Mike’s songs include “The Brain” and “Man About Town.”. His interactions with the other performers are marvelous and he wins many laughs with his antics. I last reviewed him as Marius in “Les Miserables” back in 2014. Kevin Mischley is hilarious as his sidekick, Igor. He steals many a scene with his hump moving from side to side during the show. Kevin’s line delivery and dead pan looks as well as his facial expressions are laugh out loud moments. His song and dance with Mike in the vaudeville style number “Together Again for the First Time” stops the show at their brilliant performances. They are reminiscent of Jimmy Durante during it. Kevin handles this madcap character wonderfully.
Audrey Clark plays the blonde sexpot Inga, wonderfully. Her songs include “Roll in the Hay” when she first meets Igor and Frederick and “Listen to Your Heart” when she seduces Frederick at last. The hay ride with the horses is marvelously portrayed. Her singing and dancing in this role and her accent is fabulous. She also does a terrific tap dance with the girls in the Ritz number. Val Cabral steals many a scene as the dragon lady, Frau Blucher. She is a hoot in this role. Val’s show stopping song is “He Vas My Boyfriend” which leaves the audience in stitches at all the sexual innuendoes in it about her affair with Victor Frankenstein. Her line delivery is fantastic, too. Val’s scene with Erin is also hilarious when she wants her to listen to her and follow her up the stairs. It has to be seen to be believed.
Erin Miller plays Elizabeth, the snooty fiance of Frederick. Her strong soprano voice is heard in “Don’t Touch Me” where she doesn’t want Frederick to touch her during the dance as she lords it over the other travelers. Erin also sings “Ah Sweet Mystery” when she and the monster have sex as well as “Deep Love” with its many double entendres about the prowess of the monster in bed. She also delivers many comic one liners with ease. Brian Gustafson is fantastic as monster. His scene with the hermit is hysterically funny. His singing and dancing in “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is a definite show stopper and extremely well done. His scene at the end when he speaks clearly and intelligently is marvelous, too. Robert Grady plays the officious Inspector who lusts for revenge from the Frankenstein family. Stephen Lee plays the comic hermit. He sings the comic “I Need Someone” when he burns the monster’s crotch with hot soup and light’s the monster’s finger on fire. Mike Duarte as Victor has a dream sequence song “Join the Family Business” that is marvelously done. So for a fun filled evening of nonstop laughter, merriment with magnificent song and dance numbers, be sure to catch Norton Singers “Young Frankenstein” before they all escape from Transylvania. Tell them Tony sent you.
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1 to 4 June)
Norton Singers, Wheaton College, East Main Road,Norton, MA
1(508)285-4049 or www.nortonsingers.com