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On Theater: ‘Young Frankenstein’ a monster hit at the Attic Theater

Young Frankenstein at the Attic Community Theater
Frankenstein (Jaycob Hunter) and his lab assistants work on their monster (Jim Huffman) in the Attic Theater’s production of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” which plays in Santa Ana through Nov. 24.
(Stephanie Garrison)

Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” surely ranks in the upper echelon of movie comedies, right beside his “Blazing Saddles” and “High Anxiety.” He struck gold again when he adapted “The Producers” into a megahit Broadway musical.

As a follow-up to that one, he guided “Young Frankenstein” to the stage, hilariously, and the results now are on view at Santa Ana’s Attic Community Theater, which has a monstrous hit on its hands. If you need a good laugh — and who doesn’t these days — this is the place.

Director Kathy Paladino has assembled a terrific cast to fill some exceptionally familiar roles and, with music director Eric Przytulski, has transformed this bravura monster mash into a tuneful delight. You know full well what’s coming but you laugh yourself silly anyway.

Young Frankenstein at the Attic Theater
Jim Huffman plays the monster in the Attic Theater’s production of “Young Frankenstein,” which runs in Santa Ana through Nov. 24.
(Stephanie Garrison)

The most impressive element among many in the ensemble is the monster. Jim Huffman has both the stature and the acting chops to sell this creepy character, and as a bonus, he even designed the dungeon-like multi-faceted backdrop that’s transformed into a plethora of settings.

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As the title character, a brilliant brain surgeon who pronounces his name “Fronkensteen,” Jaycob Hunter has mastered the combination of massive ego and bumbling social ineptness the role requires, but his soft speaking voice needs a little upward twist of the volume knob.

His lab assistants Igor and Inga are particularly well played by David Rodriguez and Brooke Lewis. Rodriguez displays a sly comic touch while Lewis injects a sensual demeanor into the scientific activity.

The spooky Frau Blucher, whose uttered name makes horses whinny, is beautifully enacted by Mary Price Moore, who steals several segments of the show. Her rendition of “He Vas My Boyfriend” is a particular howl.

Young Frankenstein at the Attic Theater
Frankenstein’s fiancé Elizabeth Benning, center, played by Nicole Girardi, in “Young Frankenstein” at the Attic Theater in Santa Ana.
(Stephanie Garrison)

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Nicole Gerardi impresses as the doctor’s beautiful but emotionally unavailable fiancée whose attitude undergoes a monstrous adjustment. She also unveils a superb singing voice late in the show.

The overbearing town constable is played with full Teutonic vigor by Tyler Below, and JD Rinde makes a wacky appearance as the blind hermit. This version of the show even features a spirited cameo bit by the multi-talented Bob Fetes as the dream ghost of Frederick’s grandfather.

Choreographer Maureen Russell has energized the ensemble of townsfolk, and her “Transylvania Mania” number, which closes the first act, is simply outstanding.

“Young Frankenstein” was a great comic movie, and setting it to music as a stage production has made it even more enjoyable. It’s a monster mash for all ages at the Attic Community Theater.

IF YOU GO

What: “Young Frankenstein”

Where: Attic Community Theater, 2834 S. Fairview St., Santa Ana (enter from Segerstrom Avenue)

When: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 until Nov. 24

Cost: $12.50

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Information: (714) 662-2525; ocact.com


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