Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cleveland Playhouse: Young Frankenstein

Last night, my wife and I got to see the first show of our season pass at the Cleveland Playhouse. I know, you're thinking the theater is for old people and primadonnas. Well, you're right, and I got to meet all of those wonderful people in the complete CF that was getting out of the parking garage.

However, I must say, Young Frankenstein was possibly the most entertaining thing I've ever seen. And I've seen Alice Cooper in concert. Alice Cooper was great, but the experience lacked because he followed this horrible Canadian band that had the word "Electric" in damn near every song title.

On to the review.

The play grabs you almost immediately with a bunch of entertaining songs. For the dudes out there that don't want to seem effeminate by going to a play, I'll give you a spoiler - in the first 10 minutes a guy gets double-punched in the crotch and the entire bridge of a song is dedicated to a female body part using a vernacular that is not radio-legal. A real man's man's show this is.

The entire first act was amazing. Every character plays their roles flawlessly, the music is catchy, and the story progresses quickly. My favorite songs were the one about the brain (which was scientifically acurate yet obscure, which is most amazing when pulled off) and the Transylvania Mania.

The second act, while still good, got a little bit slow around the hermit scene, but picked back up at the end. And, of course, they did the "Puttin' on the Ritz" scene flawlessly.

The show is not outwardly crude, but has a lot of innuendo as Mel Brooks intended. The language is clean for the most part, which is part of the reason it's so funny when they do swear. The banter between Frederick and Igor is spectacular. At one point, I think the two actually cracked each other up, but somehow they went on with the scene. Roger Bart, who played Frederick Frankenstein in the original Broadway premier does an amazing job (I can see why he was the original Frankenstein). His delivery is a true blend between Gene Wilder and Kevin Pollock, going from patient and quiet to a frantic screaming pattern that reminded me of George Kastanza.

If you would enjoy a night of crude humor, I would throughly suggest Young Frankenstein, the play. If you are single, take a girl with you. She'll think you're classy, even though it may only be a bunch of dick jokes.

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