Arts & Culture

Review: 'Frankenstein's Bride...or the Girl of my Screams!' at Great American Melodrama

Alex Sheets plays Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, who awakens after 15 years of sleep.
Alex Sheets plays Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster, who awakens after 15 years of sleep. PHOTO COURTESY OF GREAT AMERICAN MELODRAMA AND VAUDEVILLE

A classic horror tale is resurrected from the grave with more laughs than screams in “Frankenstein’s Bride or the Girl of my Screams!” at the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano. Director and choreographer Eric Hoit and musical director Kevin Lawson lead a talented cast in a funny spoof about the Frankenstein monster and his quest for a bride.

Mad scientist Dr. Polvard (Toby Tropper) brings Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster (Alex Sheets) back to life after 15 years of slumber with the help of his hunchback sidekick, Hans (Mike Fiore), and peculiar housekeeper, Frau Braunholder (Jacqueline Hilderbrand). Ignoring commands from Dr. Polvard, the Monster escapes to the nearby village where he meets a local blind girl, Juliana (Mia Mekjian). After her disappearance, Juliana’s father, Burgomaster (Billy Breed), and other villagers suspect the creature and storm the famous Castle Frankenstein for answers.

Unaware of the Monster’s rebirth, Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, Victor (Jeff Salsbury), and his wife, Elizabeth (Leah Kolb), arrive at Castle Frankenstein to begin a new life together. Immediately, they are thrown into the search to find the missing menace. Elizabeth befriends the Monster and realizes that he is just a gentle creature in search of a mate. Victor, who is not interested in following in his grandfather’s footsteps, reluctantly agrees to help Dr. Polvard create a bride for the distraught Monster.

This madcap journey is filled with hilarious mishaps, ghoulish musical parodies and clever pop culture references. Highlights include a comical musical number set to the music of rapper Eminem and a heartwarming duet between the Monster and his bride mocking the song “Suddenly Seymour” from the musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”

The talented acting ensemble has great comic timing with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Many of the actors have performed in recent Melodrama productions. Fiore, not seen on the Melodrama stage for a few years, brings a refreshing, comical turn to the stereotypical hunchback assistant. Hidlerbrand is hysterical as the unconventional housekeeper.

Following each performance of “Frankenstein’s Bride” is “The Monster Vaudeville Revue.” The revue brings together famous scary characters such as the Mummy, Dracula, Werewolf, and a few witches and zombies who perform musical numbers and comic routines. A variety of song parodies and one-liners keeps the audience laughing and entertained. The showstopper is a musical tribute to the song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. “The Monster Vaudeville Revue” is directed by Dan Schultz, with musical direction by Lawson and choreographed by Kolb.

Set design by Brian Williams uses mural backdrops to create such scenes as the scary crypt at Castle Frankenstein and the village in a German countryside. Clever costumes by Renee Van Niel are perfectly scary and fun. Lighting design is by Kody Cava. Stage Manager is Amanda Johnson.

“Frankenstein’s Bride” will take you on a scary ride and leave you with a devilish smile.

‘FRANKENSTEIN’S BRIDE OR THE GIRL OF MY SCREAMS!’

7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 15.

Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, 1863 Front St., Oceano

$19 to $25

805-489-2499 or http://www.americanmelodrama.com

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