Halloween came about a month early when the “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” set up its mad science laboratory under the direction of Robin M. Hughes at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. From now through November 6, the intimate theatre is essentially transformed into Transylvania Heights for a frightfully funny start to its 2016/17 season as it spoofed the entire horror movie genre.
It’s amazing how “super duper” The Monster can seem when he’s “trying hard to look like Gary Cooper,” and as far as this edition of “Young Frankenstein” is concerned, it’s worth “spending every dime for a wonderful time.”
Based on the 1974 film written by Brooks and the recently departed Gene Wilder, “Young Frankenstein” tells the supernatural story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Patrick Tierney), who frequently insists it’s “Frankensteen” in attempts to separate himself from his infamous, fiend-creating family. But after his grandfather suddenly dies, the entire estate is left to the young scientist, who must visit an ominous castle to sort the final affairs, despite wanting to stay in New York with his high-maintenance fiancée Elizabeth (Sari Greenberg).
However, that plan is much easier said than done when Frederick gets sucked into the vortex of his newfound hunchbacked pal Igor (pronounced “Eye-Gore” and played by Nathan Cooper), a sexy lab assistant named Inga (Ali Breneman) and the brooding housekeeper Frau Blucher (Susan Wingerter), who was also his grandfather’s longtime girlfriend. With their relentless coaxing, the heir eventually follows in the footsteps of the man he swore he’d never emulate, but their plan bring a dead body back to life is temporarily derailed when the flaky Igor makes a major mistake selecting the brain.
As a result, The Monster (T.C. Fair) turns out to be more of a beast than a brainiac, which is an absolute hoot to watch, even if it turns the already creepy town completely upside down. Though the Metropolis’ respectable resources can’t compare to Broadway’s endless bank, the skillful set design paints an accurate picture of the many Transylvanian haunts traversed throughout the tale, while the cast is loaded with total pros who appear just as confident in the virtual castle as they do prowling the aisles to bring the audience closer to the action.
The show also possesses a catchy soundtrack of libido-charged silliness, which helps propel the laughs as everyone’s slapdash creation essentially shifts from a menacing villain to a civilized hero, culminating in a tap dance routine to the (mostly) classy “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” It’s amazing how “super duper” The Monster can seem when he’s “trying hard to look like Gary Cooper,” and as far as this edition of “Young Frankenstein” is concerned, it’s worth “spending every dime for a wonderful time.”
“The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” continues various dates and times at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre through November 6. For additional details, visit MetropolisArts.com.