Theatre by the Sea’s “Young Frankenstein” is frighteningly funny

Brad Bradley (Igor) and the company of "Young Frankenstein." Photo by Steven Richard Photography.
Brad Bradley (Igor) and the company of “Young Frankenstein.” Photo by Steven Richard Photography.

By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News

Theatre by the Sea’s production of “Young Frankenstein” is scarily good.

The beloved Mel Brooks movie of the same name comes to life – see what I did there? – with a healthy dose of song, dance and theatrical magic.

Brian Padgett (The Monster) and Brittney Morello (Elizabeth) in "Young Frankenstein." Photo by Steven Richard Photography.
Brian Padgett (The Monster) and Brittney Morello (Elizabeth) in “Young Frankenstein.” Photo by Steven Richard Photography.

Director Kevin Hill has done it once again. He’s assembled a knock-out cast, crafted precise and eye-popping choreography, and coaxed every last giggle and guffaw out of the script.

The sets by Kyle Dixon, lights by Bailey Costa and original costumes by William Ivey Long make “Young Frankenstein” one of the most polished and professional productions I’ve seen on the TBTS stage to date.

Tommy Labanaris was born to play the role of Frederick Frankenstein, the New York professor who ends up following in his Transylvanian ancestors’ footsteps and creating a monster. And thank goodness he does – Brian Padgett is hilarious as The Monster, and he even gets the chance to show off some fancy footwork in a show-stopping “Putting on the Ritz.”

Brad Bradley is the perfect Igor (really, perfect!) and Mary Claire King is a stunner (both physically and vocally) as Inga. I just can’t get enough of Labanaris, Bradley and King in this show!

Tommy Labanaris (Dr. Frankenstein) and Mary Claire King (Inga) in "Young Frankenstein."Photo by Steven Richard Photography.
Tommy Labanaris (Dr. Frankenstein) and Mary Claire King (Inga) in “Young Frankenstein.”Photo by Steven Richard Photography.

Sandy Rosenberg belts out a terrific rendition of “He Was My Boyfriend” as the she-could-haunt-a-house Frau Blucher, and Brittney Morello nails her rendition of “Deep Love” as Dr. Frankenstein’s sexpot fiancée Elizabeth. There’s also a great laugh-out-loud-funny bit involving local favorite Tom Gleadow as a blind hermit who unwittingly tortures The Monster in his ramshackle hut.

But let’s not forget the immensely talented ensemble who more than sing for their supper; draped with lavish costumes and festooned with elaborate wigs, it’s a wonder they can even remember their lines in the sometimes sweltering heat of the Matunuck barn, never mind kick up their heels in dazzling displays of skill and grace.

Which brings me to another important point: at Friday night’s balmy showing of “Young Frankenstein” owner Bill Hanney announced plans to air condition the barn next summer. He said they’ll still use the ocean’s natural breeze on cooler evenings, but will turn on the AC for those hot, sticky summer nights.

So if you’ve been meaning to get down to Matunuck or thinking about stopping by Theatre by the Sea, now is the time to do it. Don’t let summer pass you by without catching this production.

“Young Frankenstein” runs now through September 6 at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck. Click here for show times, tickets and information.

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