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David Minton

Transylvania mania

Electric performances enliven musical ‘Young Frankenstein”

Music Theatre of Denton brought in some of the area’s best and best-loved performers for the musical stage adaptation of Mel Brooks’ 1974 film Young Frankenstein.

Bill Kirkley, a lifelong fan of the film, directs the silly romp to Transylvania with Aileen Stark. The production opens Friday at the Campus Theatre.

Eric Ryan plays the title role — complete with deliberately goofy facial expressions and prim posture. Blissfully unaware of the death of his grandfather Victor Frankenstein, the younger Frederick Frankenstein has a plum job at Johns Hopkins teaching neuroanatomy.

In a Producers-like number about the brain, featuring a whirling chorus line of wheeled chairs, Frankenstein distances himself from “the family business” of reanimating dead human flesh. Instead, the good doctor insists he’s a legitimate man of science. The number is ripe for director Kirkley’s signature sight gags and physical comedy.

When the doctor learns he’s the last living relative of Victor Frankenstein, he reluctantly heads to Romania to settle the mad doctor’s affairs. In Transylvania, young Frankenstein meets Victor’s humpbacked servant, Igor (played by a spot-on Brad Justice), the beautiful young Inga (Hannah Lane), the wooden-faced Frau Blucher (Kay Lamb) and the ghost of Grandfather Victor (Jim Laney).

Johnny Bryant is barely recognizable as the green-faced, brutish-browed, towering monster brought back to life by Frederick Frankenstein. Kirkley and Stark wisely cast featured roles: Bryan Patrick steals scenes as Inspector Kemp; and Olivia Norine is the red-hot tease Elizabeth, Frederick’s fiance.

The production team doesn’t try anything tricky here. It’s simply followed Brooks’ winking script (peppered with puns and silliness) with imagination and cartoonish physical comedy.

— Lucinda Breeding


What: Music Theatre of Denton presents the musical theater adaptation of the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein, by Brooks and Thomas Meehan.

When: 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and Oct. 24-26; and 2 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 27

Details: Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 62 and older, and $10 for children. Rated PG-13 for mild language and mature themes.

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