“Young Frankenstein” practically brought the house down in laughter with some hysterically funny scenes. 

Some in the audience laughed so hard they cried. There was a good crowd at the Barn Theater on Friday for opening night. But many in the audience wanted to see the play again, after the intermission.

Young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, from New York, is summoned to Transylvannia, by a telegram, after his uncle, Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein (pronounced Fronk-en-steen) played by Aaron Nucum, has died.

 The play begins with Frederick,  played by Jason Porter, teaching at the hospital. He leaves quickly for Transylvannia and is met at the station by Igor, and Inga, and the hilarity begins.

Frederick is no pristine character, and follows in his uncle’s footsteps bringing a “creature” to life, and afterwards all kinds of antics start happening, at home and in the village, in Transylvania.

During the intermission a woman in the audience said, “The play is so awesome, that everyone should see it.” “I love it,” said another woman, “And I’m going to return and see it again.”

In the meantime, Frederick’s fianceé, Elizabeth, played by Kathrynne Wills, is on her way to meet him.

The Creature, or monster is played by Asharon Morales and he does an amazing job with a difficult part. He’s been in plenty of productions, but this is his first time at the Barn Theater. Igor, played by Todd Mathenia, is the indomitable side-kick, and hanger-on, as well, and Inga played by Kristin Redford, is a great supporting character, and Frau Blucher, played by Barbra Black, was fabulous in her supporting role. The whole cast was wonderful in the play.

There’s singing, and dancing, along with a bit of naughty language and some sexual situations, so adults are advised “this might not be appropriate for little ones.”  

Young Frankenstein is based on the screen sensation with Gene Wilder, which was written, produced and directed by Mel Brooks in the early 1970’s. Director Charles Hickinbotham and crew have added a touch of their own extra theatrical flair to the show for everyone’s enjoyment. 

They’ve put together and built a tremendously fun, and funny play, with spectacular music. The cast of both veteran Barn actors and new actors helps make the play a tremendous production for both seasoned and new audiences.

 Assistant Director Melanie Tyler has done an incredible job, and the play is full of entertainment as well as “a little bit of soul searching” for a contemporary audience regarding “acceptable humor”and satire from more than 40 years ago.  Hickinbotham said, “The actors are doing a phenomenal job. It’s been a difficult and technical show and they’ve all shown such dedication.”

 Denise Everhart and Kim Day have done a masterful job of creating costumes, and the dancing and choreography created by Kallysta Tyler and Tori Moore was exceptional. Kate Smith has done a great job with the shows production as well as being stage manager. And hair and make-up were fabulous, especially prosthetics for the “monster” created by McKenna Allison and Carissa Marquez.

“This has been my first on stage full blown musical comedy,” said Nucum, “ and just getting the dancing down was big for me. We have the greatest choreographers, Kallysta Tyler and Tori Moore. This is also such a new role for me. A mad scientist, instead of a leading man or pseudo -villian type. I’ve never been in ‘an-in-your-face role. It’s completely new and exhilarating.”

Ambree Bough, who plays a Translyvanian villager, and is also one of the ensemble cast, said the show was more difficult than anything she’d been in before, because of all the dancing and exacting choreography. “There’s an awful lot of it. But the show is going to be great because of all the people who are in it. As well as producing and directing it.”

The backstage crew and lighting and sound have done a superb job as always, and the set is great, just what you expect from the Barn Theater high standards. 

After the performers took their bows onstage and made their way out to the lobby, audience members asked for autographs, and enthused over many of the performers as they talked about the play and performing in it, and the many memorable scenes. 

Liovardo Garfias enjoyed the play tremendously and said it was his first time at the Barn Theater, “It’s brilliant how the director organized the scenes to emotionally move the audience. It was great how he put the scenes together.”

“That was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time,” said Shirley Gemmels, “I highly recommend ‘Young Frankenstein,’ to anyone.”

Standing in line for the hor d’oeuvres Levi Smith, 9, said, “The play was wonderful and marvelous. It was funny.”

Bobbi Ernst, standing with her husband Bill, said, “I would like to congratulate the whole Porter family,” commenting on Porter. His fellow cast members said he worked hard on the dance numbers, practicing every chance he had. 


Jack Gutting who was also in the audience said the play was entertaining, and so much fun.

People were overheard, saying they couldn’t help but laugh, practically through the whole play.

Brunch reservations are required by Wednesday, September 11. The cost of the brunch is $20 per person.

For ticket and brunch reservations call (559) 310-7046 or visit www.barntheater.porterville.com

“Everyone needs to see it at least once or twice,” said Maggie Bachand, who was in the audience.

Vince Black, who played the crippled Inspector Hans Kemp, is a veteran actor, and has been at the theater for 25 plus years. He and his family are devout Mel Brooks fans, you could say comedy is in their blood. Brooks wrote all of the music for Young Frankenstein, said Black, who has watched the movie every Halloween with his family for 15 years. His wife, Barbra, played Frau Blucher, and his daughter, Maggie, played Ziggy, in the ensemble.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, September 13,14, 20, 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees are September 8, 15, and 22 at 2 p.m.

Sunday matinee brunch will be Sunday, September 15, at 12:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 Adults, $10 seniors and students, $5 kids under 11.

Brunch reservations are required by Wednesday, September 11. The cost of the brunch is $20 per person.

For ticket and brunch reservations call (559) 310-7046 or visit www.barntheater.porterville.com.

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