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It's Alive! 'Young Frankenstein' Sparks Life At The MET Theatre

Sidne Phillips |
September 28, 2014 | 9:38 p.m. PDT

Contributor

John David Wallis and Hector S. Quintana. Photo by Michael Lamont.
John David Wallis and Hector S. Quintana. Photo by Michael Lamont.
We open on a dark and stormy night in Transylvania, where subjects rejoice that they are no longer plagued with the threat of the monstrous Victor Von Frankenstein. However, one threat still remains – his grandson. Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” the musical opened this weekend at the MET Theatre in Hollywood, performed by the hilarious and talented cast of DOMA Theatre Company, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Directed by Marco Gomez, the cast does justice to the original 1974 cult classic film starring Gene Wilder, along with adding their own spins to the show. They brilliantly utilize the intimate setting of the theater to interact with the audience, even entering through the aisles multiple times, ensuring hilarity from beginning to end.

The story follows the grandson of Victor Von Frankenstein, also a doctor, who must sort out the affairs of his grandfather’s estate after his death. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (John David Wallis) teams up with Igor (Scott Seiffert), the grandson of Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein’s assistant, as they decide to bring yet another monster (Hector S. Quintana) to life. He leaves behind his fiancé Elizabeth (Toni Smith) in America, meets a flirtatious young blonde named Inga (Susan Huckle), and must deal with the sexually frustrated lover of his grandfather Frau Blücher (Michelle Holmes). What follows is merriment, tap dancing, and multiple show stopping numbers, including “Please Don’t Touch Me,” “Join the Family Business,” “Transylvania Mania,” and the classic Irving Berlin song “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

SEE ALSO: Film Review: 'I, Frankenstein'

Wallis and Seiffert were as dynamic as any duo could get as Frankenstein (ahem - Fronkensteen) and Igor. Huckle’s Inga may have had an on-again-off-again accent, but her unique and incredible talent for yodeling generated much applause from the delighted audience. Quintana’s Monster was remarkably lovable; being able to tap dance in 4-inch platform shoes is not easy, and he did it not only with ease but with style. Holmes’ fearless portrayal of Frau Blaücher left audiences shocked and amused, and her incredible vibrato and belt brought people to their feet in “He Vas My Boyfriend.” The stealer of the show had to be Toni Smith’s fabulous Elizabeth, the coquettish fiancé of Frankenstein that is always off with other men. Her solo in the beginning of the show brings intense energy to the stage, and her every entrance after that is followed with applause by an audience that cannot wait to hear her marvelous soprano again.

Perhaps as show-stopping as the cast is the set (designed by John Iacovelli) – in such a small space, he makes every scene look new. From multiple spinning fireplaces and bookshelves, to a hidden laboratory, to a bed that lifts all the way up into the stage lights, the manufacturing of the set is brilliant. The props are also wonderful (designed by Hallie Baran), such as an eerie, War Horse-esque, larger-than-life puppet of the Frankenstein monster. There were some issues with lighting not being exact and the mist was sometimes a bit overwhelming, but overall the technical aspect of the show helped more than hindered the performance.

For being relatively young, the DOMA Theatre Company did a fantastic job at putting on a timeless musical in such a small space. They used the intimate setting to their advantage, and cast incredible talent to truly bring "Young Frankenstein" to life.

“Young Frankenstein” is playing through November 16 at The MET Theatre (1089 Oxford Ave, Los Angeles). Tickets are $20-$35. For more information visit www.DOMATheatre.com.

Contact Contributor Sidne Phillips here.
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