Risque play full of laughs
REVIEW BY LISSA ALEXANDER
They’ve done it again.
When I asked the director of Young Frankenstein, Gary Brown, about the decision to perform Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, he said Bard to Broadway was looking for something that could rival last year’s hugely successful production of The Drowsy Chaperone.
The musical Young Frankenstein would push the envelope a bit, he said, as it’s a huge show with a lot of expectations.
The cast was phenomenal, the script was hilarious and the live orchestra—top notch.
I have to first commend Nicholas Atkinson, who I’ve seen perform many times in his seven seasons with Bard to Broadway, but his role as Frederick Fronkensteen was my favourite performance of his to date. He nailed his hilarious singing performances with just the right amount of schmaltz and I loved his interactions with both Igor (played by his dad Rob Atkinson) and his gorgeous lab assistant Inga (played by Bethany Freed).
In the play, Frederick is a well-respected professor and so insists on his last name being pronounced Fronkensteen to disassociate him from his crazy family members, the Frankensteins. At the news of his grandfather’s death—the infamous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein—he learns that he has inherited Victor’s castle in Transylvania.
When he arrives he meets Igor, a hunchback and the grandson of Dr. Victor’s servant, who insists his name is pronounced “eye-gor”. Rob Atkinson plays a priceless Igor and seems to deliver all his punch lines with great ease. Father and son interact flawlessly and it’s a treat to watch.
Bethany Freed plays her role—a perfectly sweet and naive Inga—beautifully, and her dance numbers reveal her years of dance training.
Susan Bradshaw gave her offbeat gothic character Frau Bleucher great life, with some exceedingly funny moments.
Hilary Britton-Foster blew me away as Frederick’s fiancee, particularly with her unforgettable performance in the song “Please don’t touch me,” a racy number that becomes centered around her breasts.
Brian Lecky was incredibly funny and strong in his role as inspector Kemp and Shawn Lestage was a matchless monster; I loved his version of Puttin’ on da Reeez.
Don Harper played a number of roles but I particularly liked him as the blind Hermit who tries to befriend the monster.
Right off the hop we get a sense of the talent of this cast, as a trio of Frederick’s students perform a stunningly good rendition of the song, The Brain. Those singers are Juliana Cook, Belle Warner-Varney and Josh Jai. The talent continues with impressive dance numbers and enthusiastic singing from the large cast.
Those with a faint heart be warned, there is no shortage of bawdy lines and risque subject manner in this play, but it was very funny and definitely worth a trip to the Village Theatre—that is if there’s any tickets left.
Young Frankenstein the Musical plays until August 16, as of today there are 16 performances left to catch.
Tickets are $24 for adults, $22 for seniors and students and $11 for children, available at the box office: 110 West Second Ave. Call 250-752-4470 to book tickets or to find out office hours. For more information visit www.b2btheatre.com.