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Spartan Scoop


A review of MCT’s hilarious Production of “Young Frankenstein”
Jadis Veal
Dr. Frankenstein lovingly holding his monster as he howls in despair.

From emphatic songs about t*ts to old German women singing about their dead boyfriends, Missoula Community Theater’s (MCT) production of “Young Frankenstein” (adapted from the Mel Brooks movie) is two and a half hours of cheeky fun. 

I attended the show on October 27th, the cast’s fourth performance, and was more than pleased with all the dirty jokes and excellent singing. I believe there is a common misconception that local theater, in any city, is only ever going to be ok. People have it in their heads that the only truly professional theater is Broadway, but every time I see an MCT show I feel that stereotype is immediately shut down. 

The other women around even join along in a chorus of “Don’t touch our t*ts”

The amount of talent we have in Missoula alone is shudderingly impressive to me. In this show I was particularly pleased with Adrian Adams (Dr. Frankenstein) and Paisley Thorton (Elizabeth Benning) who both had voices that kept my mouth wide open in awe. 

The show opened with “The Brain” a quirky tune reminiscent of classic showtunes with its peppy presence, elaborate jazz dancing, and sequined colored lab coats. This number quickly explains that our main character, Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced Fr-ahhn-ken-steen as he so irritabley expresses) is a leading expert on the human brain, and he loves nothing more. Additionally, he notes he has no desire to follow in his grandfather’s monster making legacy. I found this scene to be a very fun and upbeat way to start the show. 

 Then, Frank Jr. receives a letter that his grandfather has passed, leaving him a huge estate located in far away Transylvania, where he must visit to claim the castle. So he’s off, and his loving (ish) fiancé Elizabeth Benning wishes him well. 

Taking into account the time period, which seems to be the 1950s, Elizabeth and Frankenstein’s relationship seems rather old fashioned. He attempts to give her an innocent kiss goodbye and she recoils, explaining that her wet nails are not to be at risk of touch, or any part of her in fact. In “Please Don’t Touch Me” Elizabeth explains that her soon to be husband may think of her in any way possible, but when it comes to actual physical touch she gets the ick. The other women around even join along in a chorus of “Don’t touch our t*ts”. This was one of my favorite performances of the night, Thornton had excellent comedic timing while still belting. I was in tears laughing by the end of the song. 

Frankenstein eventually finds his way to Transylvania where he meets his hump-backed and clueless assistant Igor (Brennan Buhl).  The pair then swiftly bond through song in “Together again” and hop to the castle. On the way we meet a village girl, Inga, that Igor has hired to help persuade the doctor back into his grandfather’s evil scientific methods. Dr. Frank and Inga (played by Carolyn Toner) are lumped together in the back of a wagon to “Roll In The Hay” where his sexual frustration is toyed with repeatedly. 

Both numbers are great fun and do an excellent job of making introductions without slowing the pace of the show. The part that stuck with me best though was Igor’s complete unawareness of anything. He is oblivious to the moving giant hump on his back, and is kind of bad at his job. Seeing Buhl’s energetic interpretation of Igor always gave me something silly on stage to enjoy, even in serious moments. 

At the castle, we meet the very German and incredibly sour-faced Frau Blucher (Teresa Waldorf), caretaker of the estate. Who is later revealed to be the former girlfriend of Dr. Frankenstein’s Grandpa in “He Vas My Boyfriend.” Ms. Waldorf had a tight lipped face and thinly drawn eyebrows that I feel properly reflected the intense nature of the character. As her face was puckered and disapproving I could feel the judgment waft off of the stage, and I loved it. 

So with our main posse rounded up there was only one crucial character missing, Frankenstein’s monster himself! It didn’t take long for the young Frank to fall into the family line of business, because within the next song “Life, Life” he is raising the dead. However, things go awry when Igor retrieves the wrong brain from a storage facility and a strikingly tall body receives a brain affectionately labeled Abby Normal or abnormal in Layman’s terms. Frankenstein’s monster (Dylan Wright) is born, but he’s not too easy on the eyes, and he’s filled with aggressive tendencies. 

The villagers in Transylvania, who all fear a repeat of the massacre caused by the first Dr. Frankenstein, become suspicious and look into the castle. Igor and Inga attempt desperately to distract from the howling creature inside the building in “The Transylvania Mania” to no avail. Frau Blucher lets the creature free and he wanders off causing a panic in the village. 

I can’t say I didn’t enjoy watching an adult man run around in huge platform boots and crash into people and fences. However, as the show continues they wrangle the monster in, and an awkward love triangle appears between Dr. Frankenstein, Inga, and Elizabeth. Frankenstein then decides the monster must be tamed.

To prove to the villagers that all is safe in the village, the doctor trains the monster in high society. Then, what is the coolest tap routine I’ve seen live, comes to fruition. With Adrian Adams and Dylan Wright singing excerpts from “Puttin on the Ritz” and the whole ensemble tap dancing in penguin tuxedos, this number was a show stopper. I’m still confused as to how Wright managed to dance in his enormous shoes. 

And yet the monster is not truly changed, after one flick of fire goes by he is on a rampage and scoops up Elizabeth taking her to his cage. When she awakes the monster is calmed and they begin to bond, now the same Elizabeth who wanted anything but to be touched, suddenly feels a passion for Frankenstein’s Monster. The song “Deep Love” follows, where male genitalia jokes are made aplenty, and Elizabeth confesses what must be love for the creature.

Words cannot express how well pieced together this scene was. As actress Thornton burst into a passionate, but punny song, a literal fireworks display of lights comes to the stage and the music soars. The timing of it all could not have been more perfect, and I am positive that it is down to hours of tireless work, props to all involved in the show for that. 

Now the show closes with a bang, the villagers not knowing of Elizabeth’s safety come to kill the monster, but Dr. Frankenstein gets to him first.  He then attempts to transfuse his knowledge to the monster so that it may reason with the mob. When all seems to fail the villagers try to hang the poor doctor, and he soon fades away. Just seconds later the monster bursts to life filled with the brains of another man, and he saves his creator with science. And so the show has a happy end with all alive and somehow grudge free. 

I can certainly say I left the theater smiling. I truly enjoyed this performance, the comedy itself was low brow in just the right way, and the singing was truly impressive. I think the joy I felt from other crowd members, as well as the line of people I saw rushing to grab a picture with cast members afterwards, reflects MCT’s triumph with “Young Frankenstein.”

About the Contributors
Andrew Buchholz
Andrew Buchholz, Reporter
"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it" (Alice Walker).
Jadis Veal
Jadis Veal, Illustrator
"Where's everyone going? Bingo?"- Leon Kennedy