28
Jul
13

The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein

 

The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein

USC Performing Arts Kollective (PAK)

The Lind

26th – 28th July 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

PAK_Brandon_frankenstein

“Mel writes happy songs” Susan Stroman

 

The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein is typical of the comedy we’ve come to know and love – or hate – since Spaceballs and The Producers.

 

It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s a little bit naughty; it’s a great choice for PAK, Sunshine Coast University’s Performing Arts Kollective. It’s their first musical and the show’s Queensland premiere.

 

PAK_youngfrankenstein

 

We almost missed it! We spent the morning running around town and then let the new chooks out to roam free range while we had a ploughman’s lunch overlooking the pool. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Only, Honeycomb, our least cooperative chicken, didn’t like the idea of returning to the coop so we spent some time coaxing her with watermelon treats in our efforts to lure her back into her brand new home! This meant we had to literally run out the door (I almost ran out with my wellies on), to make the two o’clock matinee on Saturday.

 

PAK_scientists
The Lind, in Nambour, is the perfect Sunshine Coast venue for a student group to learn the ropes. This is PAK’s third show ever and it’s obvious they’re still learning the ropes. But look, they’re having fun and they’re getting audiences. We sat next to somebody who’d never been to the theatre – his girlfriend had a friend in the show. So if a group’s putting on new shows with new performers and getting new audiences, I don’t want to deter them. But I do want to see them start enlisting professionals on a regular basis to teach the necessary skill sets. These guys and girls can do better. They’re doing great! But they can do better. There’s a lot of talent in this group and it’s still largely undiscovered. There appears to be a little more confidence when it comes to choreography, but some strong acting and vocal work needs to happen next!

 

PAK_frankenstein

 

And look, it’s useless in this instance, in this local context, to point out any faults without offering to help, and so I have done; I’d love to work with these guys on something a little smaller, with more of the focus going to basic stagecraft, character, comic timing and ensemble work. Something like Let the Blood Run Free… Up until this point the group has worked entirely on their own to produce Night at the Movies and HERS & HIStory. I loved seeing Robyn Ernst’s good-humoured hand on this production though, and kudos must go to whoever deemed themselves worthy of a professional director. This is certainly a step in the right direction, with everybody involved benefitting directly from Robyn’s extensive knowledge and experience. Also, it must be said that The Lind team are doing everything right, attracting productions from all manner of professional and community groups, and doing their utmost to support the technical aspects of production. Theirs has become an excellent model for committee-run community theatre on the Sunshine Coast, or indeed, anywhere.

 

PAK_thehermit_frankenstein

 

Brandon Maday (Dr Frederick Frankenstein) demonstrated through some of his most vibrant character, vocal and physical comedy work to date, just why he’s PAK’s preferred leading man of the moment, and Tara Bryan (Inga), Clinton Beckmann (Igor), Sharni Wilson (Frau Blucher) and Riette de Jager (Ziggy) showed solid commitment to their comical characters. As The Monster, Anthony Borsato did his best to show us two distinct sides of a one-dimensional character and handled well in the end, all of the “transference” nonsense!

 

Friends, look out for PAK – their energy is infectious, and it’s bringing into our theatres a whole new crowd!

 

 

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