Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Science fiction double feature

The Texas State theatre department is currently staging a production of The Rocky Horror Show, and so I took Lisa. She'd never seen the film, and I'd never seen an actual stage show (as opposed to those performing in tandem with the film) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Holy moley! If you're only familiar with the infamous movie, you don't know what you're missing. Granted, all stage plays interpret things a bit differently, but this one was a great deal of fun. You know something's up when the stage play's production values far outstrip the feature film's! The costumes were amazing--it was as if Las Vegas exploded and all the tacky glitz landed in San Marcos. There was a limited degree of audience participation, ie "Asshole!" and "Slut!" but not nearly as much as you'd expect, since--gasp!--the audience was paying attention to the performances rather than counting the seconds to the catcall cues. The real revelation was the Narrator, who came off as a cross between the Jim Carrey character from A Series of Unfortunate Events and Cain from DC Comics' House of Mystery/House of Secrets. He was frellin' hilarious.

There were only two real shortcomings. Firstly, it was clear in some sequences where the choreography suffered in having students rather than professional dancers in the production. Several parts looked over-simplified where the narrative buildup called for more dazzle, and some numbers (such as "Sword of Damocles") seemed downright static. The other problem was technical. There was a live band playing, which was great, but all of the actors had headphone mics on to amplify their voices. The system cut out several times during the show, and there was one ugly feedback incident early on, which made it very hard to hear anything they were saying/singing.

Still, overall it was a fantastic experience. The show was clever and inventive, reinterpreting the well-worn Rocky Horror experience into something both familiar and new. The colors were dazzling and the entire show was far funnier than the movie ever managed to be. If you get a chance, check this one out before the end of its run.

Now Playing: Andrew Lloyd Webber The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Cast Recording

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