Mel Brooks 1974 film "Young Frankenstein" starred Gene Wilder in the role of the younger Dr. Frederick Frankenstein.
Brooks and Wilder turned the parody on the horror film into a hit comedy. Turning a hit film into a hit stage production comes with plenty of challenges and "Young Frankenstein" is no exception.
Since the film takes place over many locations, the stage settings could become problematic. Such is not the case at Thomaston. Director Katherine Ray integrates slide images into the set so seamlessly that the various locations seem to fit perfectly. If there is one true star of this production, it is this technical achievement.
Opening night went well, but the cast has not yet peaked. Chuck Stango gives a whirlwind performance as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. John Mullen, as the green-faced, square-looking Monster, has his own fan base now. Ray Esposito as Igor is simply terrific no matter which side of his back his hump is on. Katie Brunetto as sexy assistant Inga does a fine job.
Suzanne Powers, as Elizabeth Banning, Frankenstein's fiancée, really delivers a powerful vocal punch at the end of the play. Cat Heidel plays Frau Blucher to perfection and Joe McCann gives an arm and a leg performance as Inspector Kemp. George Parris, Peter Bailey and a talented ensemble round off the cast.
The ensemble includes: Laura Busk, Connor Dunn, Lauren Elias, Amy Ferrarotti, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kasey Geremia, Pat Hearn Jodiann Kelly, Chris Kovacs, Elaine LeStrange, Jean-Marie McGrath, Theo Sevilla, Steve Sorriero and Jan Spagnolo.
The hayride scene is really funny and the horses neighing each time Frau Blucher's name is mentioned is classic comedy. Because there is a lot of sexual innuendo and language that might be offensive, ticket buyers should know what to expect. This is a huge production done very well by a community theater. The first act dragged a bit, but the pace picked up substantially in the second act.
Some of the dance numbers are cramped on the stage, which is a shame since there's some pretty darn good choreography here offered by Jenn Mazzeo. Music Director Holly McCann got the cast and orchestra stage ready, though some of the vocals could have been stronger. Katherine Ray, David Verdosci and Jeffrey Dunn are credited in the playbill for set design, which worked extremely well, including the table that rose high into the air. There were also some problems with the sound, making it difficult to hear what the actors were saying. However, that this theater took on this show and presented it this well is a David and Goliath type of feat. Kudos to all who made this possible.
It is quite likely this cast and crew will peak this weekend.
What: "Young Frankenstein" Community Theatre
Where: Landmark Community Theatre at the Thomaston Opera House
When: Through Oct. 20
How Good: 4 Scale 1-5 with 5 a rave
Box office: 860-283-6250