The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools.
Passion in a performance makes a performance worth seeing. That’s definitely true of Hampton’s adaptation of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein.”
The Hampton cast told the story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein as he visits Transylvania Heights with his devoted servant Igor and stunning assistant Inga. Together, they create a monster in a hidden laboratory.
Although the original musical by Brooks contains suggestive material, the cast was able to portray the musical accurately while also making it appropriate for all age levels. The use of subtle details created risqué comedy without crossing a line inappropriate for the audience. For example, the use of a ripped up dress to emphasize an intimate scene was clever and effective. Even more so, the passion from the cast created a captivating performance and led to constant laughter from the audience.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, played by Brian Hamlin, set the tone for the whole play with his performance of “There is Nothing like the Brain.” Hamlin performed this upbeat and fast paced tongue twister with great enthusiasm. The excitement was only beginning.
Once Igor, played by Peter Brannigan, was introduced to the audience, the laughter never ceased. With what seemed like endless vitality, Brannigan pranced around stage and emoted with great exaggeration to every action throughout. At the same time, there was great chemistry between Brannigan and Hamlin as they sang “Together Again for the First Time.”
The talent continued with Inga (Amanda Rulis). I was stunned at her performance of “Roll in the Hay” because she was able to sing in a perfect accent while being tossed around a horse and buggy prop. She did not miss a beat, and her voice sounded clear throughout the song. The number was enhanced greatly by Hamlin’s expressions of discomfort and the two horses swaying their heads to the beat of the music.
But the best vocal of the night came form Gina Alm, who played Dr. Frankenstein’s fiancée, Elizabeth. Toward the end she sang “Deep Love.” Alm had a very powerful yet controlled voice. I got chills as she first began to sing. Her voice emulated great eagerness and gave the play a more emotional connection rather than comedic one.
That passionate cast was completed by an ensemble in the background creating the little details. Their performance set the scene at the Hudson River Pier and throughout the town. Their terror of the monster was well expressed and then contrasted with the comedic relief of the village dunce and the not so official Inspector Hans Kemp.
The performance would not have been complete without intricate sounds to dictate every moment of the play. They captured every element of the play from terror to love.
The talent in this “Young Frankenstein” was undeniable. Regardless if it was a monster rampaging through the audience or a slow love ballad, the musical was enjoyable through the raw emotion from the performers.
Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson. For more high school musicals coverage, go to http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/ and scroll down.