THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW Review

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW presented by Warsaw Federal Incline Theater through March 5. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Saturday night performance.

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The Cast. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

I imagine staging a musical based on a movie, especially one with such a rabid fan base, would present a challenge in finding that balance between the two mediums. Since I’m not part of the film’s fan base, I’ll be talking about the theatrical side of things.

Vocally I thought the cast was really strong, but unfortunately at the performance I attended, there were several issues working against them. The sound execution was clunky. Mics were not hot on entrances and the balance was off between the orchestra and both the backup and lead vocals. I also felt the tempos on several of the rock-n-roll numbers were too fast which made it hard to understand the lyrics if you don’t know them.

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Caroline Schisholm as Janet & Dakota Mullins as Brad. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Matt Krieg does well as Frank-n-Furter, but I would like to have seen him be bigger and take command of the stage. Dakota Mullins was fun to watch as Brad and I felt he had a good sense of the character that he maintained well throughout the zany situations of the show. Solos and group numbers aside, it seemed like the bulk of the ensemble spent most of the show standing in small groups upstage, so they tended to fade into the background. Their blocking seemed tied to their characters’ lines so there were stretches where the show seemed visually stagnant.

The pacing also felt slow to me. It almost seemed like the cast was holding for expected laughs that just didn’t come. Other times cast members would make a long cross and hit their mark before speaking. The audience participation aspect of this performance exacerbated the problem when the video cues for the audience callbacks were late. Some of the comic bits were over-milked in the sense that longer doesn’t always translate into funnier.

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Marissa Poole as Magenta, Heather Hale as Columbia, Matt Krieg as Frank-n-Furter, Chris Logan Carter as Riff Raff & Michael Wright as Phantom. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

I enjoyed the multi-level set design by Brett Bowling. It had several fun surprises with the front door being a personal favorite. I also thought the “machine” was visually a great compilation of mixed/matched found objects. Costumes worked well and I thought the similar but different looks of the bustiers across the cast was great. The one “head scratcher” was Frank’s blood-stained smock which looked like he had tried to “Shout” out the blood stain before returning to the stage.

While I understand the decision to present the cast on video during the curtain call, I’d much rather applaud the actual actors who have worked so hard the past couple of hours.

Overall I found the show fun, but at times uneven. If this is your first time experiencing THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, I’d strongly advise you to avoid the audience participation performances. Despite the pre-show warnings, we still wound up with alot of “Brads” in the audience.

My rating: 4 out of 5. If you are a Rocky fan, make it 4.25. With corrected sound issues make that a 4.5.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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