Young Frankenstein

Pushing beyond the limits of taste and quality into the giddy realm of joy

This screwball romp reminds us that sometimes the most enjoyable theater has no goal other than to make us laugh. Director Jim Fourniadis does a fine job translating Mel Brooks' 1974 classic comedy movie for the stage. The show starts off a bit slow with the undercooked hamming of the two village idiots, but the mood turns as soon as John Harrison enters as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. Largely proportioned with a long, blondish ponytail, he's an odd choice for a leading man, yet his natural charisma and winning comedic timing are immediately obvious; his is an oddly compelling performance. The rest of the cast seems equally committed to the lighthearted proceedings. Sean Owens has audience members wiping away tears of laughter with his portrayal of Igor the Hunchback, which includes a breathtaking stretch that has him telling hilariously bad jokes from a brain storage unit. Both of these portrayals have the kind of out-of-control glee that you can get only in this kind of sloppy, over-the-top production, which encourages the actors to color outside the lines and push beyond the limits of taste and quality into the giddy realm of joy. Frank Wortham


Through Oct. 29 at the Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 19th St.), S.F. Tickets are $15, call 401-7987 or visit www.

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