THEATER REVIEW by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS
Anyone who enjoys comedy and horror has seen the classic Mel Brooks movie Young Frankenstein, but far fewer have had the opportunity to laugh like hyenas at a live theatrical production. Now the Standing Room Only company has launched a live musical version, on stage at the Triad Theater in Yelm through November 12.
The story is well known to fans of Mel Brooks. Young Dr. Frankenstein goes to Transylvania to settle his dead grandfather’s estate and is lured into joining the family business of monster-making. Along the way, he is seduced by a new lab assistant and caught in the act by his fiancée, who is then seduced by the monster. The monster himself is being relentlessly and clumsily pursued by a constable with one mechanical arm and one mechanical leg.
Young Frankenstein as a staged musical is longer than the movie at approximately two and a half hours, with much more music and dancing. Set pieces are hilarious: imagine a seven-foot-tall monster only recently brought to life and barely able to walk attempting a Broadway-style tap dance backed by a full chorus of lively singers and dancers. Add to that Brooks’s over-the-top humor delivered by a troupe of accomplished actors. These are only a sampling of the hilarious theatrical wonders on stage at the Triad Theater.
A strong and experienced cast makes this production a marvelous success. Ian Montgomery plays the young Dr. Frankenstein, grandson to the famous monster maker from the story by Mary Shelley. A regular with the Olympia Choral Society, Montgomery sings beautifully. Jesse Geray as Dr. Frankenstein’s humpback assistant, Igor, shows great range in his acting and dances like a whirling dervish. Hanna Longshore as the doctor’s fiancée expands the role beyond what it was in the movie. Longshore, a veteran of many SRO shows, gives it her own spin, and she is delightful. Dahlia Young as the doctor’s new lab assistant, Inga, is appropriately funny and sexy. Frau Blucher is played by Nancy Tribush Hillman, an SRO veteran and founder of the Drew Harvey Theatre in Yelm, which is now the Triad Theater.
Despite its Yelm location, Standing Room Only produces theater comparable to anything on stage in Olympia or Tacoma, or even Seattle —minus the million dollar sets and high ticket prices. SRO’s marvelous production of Spamalot a year ago (directed by Daniel Wyman, who also directs Young Frankenstein) brought this theater to the attention of local audiences.
Young Frankenstein is also a heavy lift for a small cast and a low-budget venue. Yet good acting and directing, challenging choreography, and inventive use of limited resources make up for any lack in set design and construction. For laugh-out loud comedy and great singing and dancing, you can’t go wrong with SRO’s Young Frankenstein.
What: Young Frankenstein
Where: Standing Room Only at the Triad Theater,
102 E. Yelm Ave., Yelm
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays – Saturdays;
3 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 20 – Nov. 26
How much: $17-$25
Learn more: 857-676-8243 | Standing Room Only