Young Frankenstein

These modern reactions to this 48-year-old musical comedy will make you want to see it for yourself.

By Andrew Andrews

Amy Schaffer and Sam Eisenbaum in County Players’ production of the Mel Brooks musical comedy Young Frankenstein at the Falls Theatre in Wappingers Falls. Original photos by Louisa Vilardi Photography.

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronkensteen”) presents a lecture at a prestigious New York City college when a telegram messenger appears to tell him that his grandfather, the infamous Baron Victor Frankenstein, has died in Transylvania. Frederick is required to travel to his family’s castle to settle the estate, so he leaves his socialite financée Elizabeth (who refuses his physical advances) behind.

Upon arrival, a hunchbacked servant named Igor (pronounced “Eyegorr”) takes him to the castle in a horse-drawn cart and begs him to continue his grandfather’s experiments. Frederick wants no part in his family’s disreputable business, but Igor presents a buxom, flirty female assistant named Inga to sway him.

After stumbling upon his grandfather’s hidden laboratory and studying his journals, Frederick brings his own monster to life by implanting an “abnormal” brain into the body of a recently-hanged criminal.

The creature breaks out of the castle and sets off on a rampage, sending the town into a passionate fury to catch and execute both the monster and its creator.

The twenty-four member cast is directed by Kevin Barnes, with live music provided by a nine-piece orchestra under music director Karen Dalmer-Sheehy.

Anyone who grew up watching Mel Brooks’ movies and appreciating his sense of humor is bound to enjoy this production of Young Frankenstein.

County Players has spared no expense in bringing this story to life (pun intended), with wonderful costumes, an elaborate set, and a “cast of thousands” singing and dancing above a live nine-piece orchestra.

Of course, this isn’t a Broadway-quality show, but considering its size and complexity, it’s worth so much more than the $25 price tag!

While the overall energy is about what I anticipate from a community theatre production, I feel that Sam Eisenbaum is as good a Dr. Frankenstein as Gene Wilder was in the motion picture, and the other major actors deliver a high-caliber performance of their own.

Mel Brooks’ form of comedy might not hold up as well with younger adults: for example, the idea that a female character might fall in love with a monster as he rapes her (off-stage) contradicts everything we hold true about sexual assault, and presenting such themes in a new musical comedy would surely ostracize any playwright today. But overlooking its outdated social norms, these two-plus hours of song-and-dance provide one foot-tapping, laugh-along moment after another.

I attended this performance with three friends; all of them agreed it was a solid four-star experience. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the most fun you can have in Wappingers Falls without substantially more than $25 worth of intoxicants… and you don’t even have to worry about waking up with a hangover or facing a DUI on the drive home.

4

Andrew Andrews attended Young Frankenstein at Falls Theatre in Wappingers Falls on Friday, May 13, 2022 @ 8:00pm to write this review.