If you’re thinking “Young Frankenstein” is anything like “The Producers,” think again. Mel Brooks’ follow-up to the Tony Award-winning Broadway extra- vaganza lacks the glitz, glam and showbiz appeal of his first musical. And that’s a good thing.
True Brooks fans will delight at the show’s bawdy appeal. ‘Fronkensteen’ is rife with boob jokes, groan-inducing one-liners, the most sexually charged hay-ride ever and a musical number about the size of the monster’s manhood.
The score isn’t going to go down in musical theater history, but “Roll in The Hay” is the kind of number you talk about at work the next day. And nobody rolls better than Anne Horak as the perfunctory leggy, busty blonde with a sexy accent and a zest for lust. Beth Curry also shines as Frederick Frankenstein’s frigid fiancee Elizabeth, while Cory English delights as the hump-backed Igor.
Since the film was such a cult classic, it’s hard not to compare Gene Wilder’s legendary portrayal of the young Dr. Frankenstein with that of this production’s Roger Bart. At the risk of offending ‘Frank’-o-philes everywhere, Bart filled the monster maker’s shoes quite well, opting for more likability and an aw-shucks demeanor over Wilder’s madcap genius.
And lest you forget this is a big Broadway musical, the ensemble delivers an impeccable rendition of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” complete with tapping monsters and enough special effects to dazzle any audience.
But at its core, “Young Frankenstein” is really all about the simple pleasure one can derive from the groans and guffaws of a well-told Mel Brooks story, even if you have to channel your inner 14-year-old to do so.