BWW Reviews: HORROR SHOW Offers Both tricks and Treats for SNS audiences
If you grew up in Columbus in the 80s, the movie THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Graceland Theatre was a teenage rite of passage, much like White Castle runs, midnight rounds of Putt-Putt and Little Kings Cream Ale.
With that as a backdrop and the Short North Stage's impressive resume of shows, it shouldn't be surprising THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, the live theatre version of the movie, is becoming a very difficult ticket to find here in Columbus. The show, a late addition to the SNS schedule, has nearly sold out its entire run from Oct. 11 through Nov. 18 at the small stage at the Garden Theatre (1187 North High Street in downtown Columbus).
ROCKY HORROR is one of those schlocky musicals that will never be accompanied with the words, "based on a true story." To prime the audience in the confined theatre, SNS shows the trailers to equally unlikely horror movies from the 1950s-60s, like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT WOMAN.
The Edward Carignan-directed show follows the path of the nerdy Brad Majors (Jake Loewenthal), who proposes to his virginal girlfriend Janet Weiss (Eli Brickey). Instead of riding off into the sunset, Brad and Janet's car sustains a flat tire on a dark and stormy night. As often is the case in horror movies, the only house in sight is a haunted castle, inhabited by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Nick Hardin), a transvestite scientist from Transsexual, Transylvania.
Like Dr. Frankenstein before him, Furter is trying to create the perfect male, as he sings in "In Just Seven Days:" He'll eat nutritious, high protein/And swallow raw eggs/Try to build up his shoulders/His chest, arms, and legs/Such an effort/If he only knew of my plan/In just seven days/I can make you a man."
It takes Dr. Frank N. Furter seven days to make the perfect male. God only knows how long it took Hardin to transform into Furter, a character who dresses like Britney Spears, looks like Pat Benatar, and sings like David Bowie.
Hardin heads up a very talented cast including Brickey and Loewenthal, who capture the nuisances of the campy Brad and Janet perfectly. SNS veteran Doug Joseph brings a quiet refinement to the narrator, who oversees the actions of the characters with a detached coolness. Helping bring the show to life are Lisa Glover (Columbia), Magenta (Tirzah Hawley), Riff Raff (Cody Westbrook), Rocky (Jay Reid) and Tahrea Maynard (Eddie/Dr. Scott). Jessie Gould, Nora Krupp, Katie Post and Dan Kuhlman are perfectly eerie as the Phantoms.
In most plays, it is expected that the audience sit quietly, observe and applaud appreciatively at the end. Movie goers familiar with ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW know that some of the best dialogue is not from Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon or Barry Bostick but provided from audience participation. Theatre custodians probably still have nightmares of having to clean up the debris of toast, rice, and other articles thrown about movie houses during its showing.
That may work at the Graceland Movie Theater. Not so much during a live performance. Short North offers movie bags that audience can purchase, which contains props like newspapers, playing cards, and flashlights for various parts in the musical. (Fortunately for the performers, rice and toast are not included.)
Short North Stage presents THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the Garden Theatre (1187 N. High Street in downtown Columbus) with performances at 8 p.m. Oct. 11-12, Oct. 18-19, Oct. 25-26, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 16. Additionally, the show will have 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows on Oct. 13, 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and Nov. 17 and 5 p.m. matinees Oct. 14, 21, and 28 and Nov. 4, 11 and 18. For tickets, call 614-725-4042.