Newspapers, toast, rice... my first experience of the cult classic movie was mind-boggling insane. Food was flying. Pelvises were thrusting. People were disrobing. The audience was performing as much as the actors on the screen. It was definitely LIVE theatre. My anticipation of an actual staged version was heightened by those still vivid memories. Ludicrous Theatre Company presents THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW... the play. It’s really a return to origin. “Rocky Horror” started as a staged rock musical in England. It was later adapted to the 1975 film version starring an unforgettable Tim Curry and a young Susan Sarandon. The outrageous movie continues to entertain as a ritualized, late night party. The story has a stranded couple stumbling into the Annual Transylvanian Convention. The attendees are in full bizarre mode. Their host is ‘a sweet transvestite‘ clad in corset, fishnets and high heels. He is also a doctor. His latest creation is a perfected lover specimen named Rocky. Sex is in the air! Ludicrous Theatre ambitiously positions a well-known show in Boho’s small theatre with a large cast. Ludicrous’ THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW is a play missing some play.
I missed the interactive engagement of the movie. It’s a different experience to just observe “Rocky Horror.” I know the lines. I know the songs. I know the dance. And ‘Dammit Janet’, I want to participate! But that playful element isn’t present at this convention. There is a seriousness that permeates. The singing, under Music Director TJ Anderson, is at its best with the entire ensemble. While the harmonies dazzle, some solo moments have the gravity of an aria. The fun disappears as the singing delivery goes pensive. I want to tell the cast to enjoy themselves more. It’s not Verdi. It’s O’Brien! Hidden in the background, a supporting character standouts. From his first appearance, Kevin Buswell (Riff Raff) spooks the stage. Buswell makes his presence known with strong vocal stylings and then continually looming on the fringe.
The Boho Theatre is tight space. The enterprising Ludicrous Theatre Company still attempts to move a large cast around with changing scenery. It gets clunky. Scene transitions have awkward pauses where the audience can hear the stagehands’ movements. It breaks the illusion! The overall visual spectacle hits the raunchy with a plethora of corsets, masks, and skin.
If you’ve never been to the movie, Ludicrous‘ THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW is a good introduction to the crazy rock musical. If you’ve seen the movie, either go in with an observant attitude. OR dress up, bring supplies and take charge! After all, a theatre company calling itself Ludicrous must enjoy spontaneous chaos!
Missing his fishnets, Shawn describes it with ‘adequate, brave, community.’
Running Time: Eighty minutes with no intermission
At Boho Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood
Written by Richard O’Brien
Directed by Wayne Shaw
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm
Thru September 17th