Incline Keeps the Madness Alive with Rocky Horror Show
Review by Doug Iden of The Rocky Horror Show: Incline Theatre
Outrageous may be an understated description of the The Rocky Horror Show which exploded onto the stage at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater last night. Based upon the equally outrageous movie entitled The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the â€œstoryâ€ addresses a semi-normal couple who stumble onto a group of zany aliens living in a bizarre, medieval castle. This sex farce is not for the faint of heart.
The movie homage to â€œBâ€ Sci-fi and horror features created an underground pop cultural phenomenon when people attended midnight showings dressed as their favorite characters while yelling at the screen and singing along with the actors. At certain performances at the Incline, there will be audience participation which will allow the interaction between the audience and the actors on stage.
Personally, I am not overly fond of this show but the overall presentation of the musical was extraordinary including the acting, singing, costumes, set design, lighting, timing and overall staging. And, yes, it is a musical with book, music and lyrics written by Richard Oâ€™Brien including classic rock songs such as â€œTime Warpâ€, â€œDamn It, Janetâ€, â€œThe Charles Atlas Songâ€ and â€œSpace Shipâ€.
The production aims for laughs and kitsch and it scores on all fronts, starting with a campy introduction where the Narrator (Communications and Development Director Rodger Pille) goes through the normal â€œturn off your cell phones and where are the exits routineâ€ but, then, slyly slips in some character introductions and a preview of next yearâ€™s lineup.
The â€œnormalâ€ characters, engaged couple Brad Majors (Dakota Mullins) and Janet Weiss (Caroline Chisholm), are introduced in front of a closed curtain where their car difficulties force them to slog through the rain for help. Suddenly, the curtain opens and we see the gothic interior of the castle complete with a set of armor, semi-animated portraits, a second balcony and many structural lines that are slightly crooked. (The set almost steals the show.) They try to maintain their normalcy in the maelstrom of insanity that surrounds them but, in the topsy-turvy world, they are forced to confront new life and sex lessons. Both Mullins and Chisholm make a nice transition from naÃ¯ve youngsters through confusion to a bizarre sexual awakening.
Their host is alien transvestite genius Dr. Frank â€œNâ€ Furter (Matt Krieg) who is trying to create the perfect man, Rocky Horror (Tyler Kuhlman). Originally played by Tim Curry, Dr. Frank â€œNâ€ Furterâ€™s role as the â€œhead crazyâ€ is crucial to the production and Krieg delivers with a salacious, mocking, manic tone while parading around the stage in a serious of half-naked outfits. Gender bending is rampant in the show displayed by costuming and acting. Everyone seems to be making a play for everyone else.
Despite several star vehicles, the play resembles an ensemble piece with a number of featured performances including Marissa Poole (Magenta and the Usherette), Chris Logan Carter (as the demented club foot Riff Raff), Heather Hale as Columbia, Dylan McGill as Eddie and Dr. Scott and four phantoms including Courtni Nicolaci, Kate Stark, Kyle Taylor and Michael Wright. All the actors appear to be thoroughly enjoying the show and that becomes infectious.
The lighting in this show is excellent, ranging from flashing lights outlining the balcony to red and blue mood lights. A TV monitor functions as an encapsulation of old campy Sci-Fi and horror movies (during the song â€œScience Fiction/Double Feature) and an internal camera which shows what various characters are doing throughout the castle. The costumes reflect an interesting variety of â€œcabaretâ€ ensembles. Director Matthew Wilson, Music Director John Slate, Choreographer Angela Kahle and Production Stage Manager Jenny Lutes are at the top of their games.
Caution: there is a lot of sexual innuendo, double entendres and simulated sex scenes in the show.
Go to your closet, resurrect those old Rocky Horror costumes and head for the Incline Theater for the remainder of The Rocky Horror Show running through March 5. For tickets, call 513-241-6550 or go to www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com, where you can also get more information about designated audience participation performances on Feb. 22, 24, 25 and March 1, 3 and 4.