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BWW Review: Don't Dream It, Be It at THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show is interactive theatre at its finest. The Boom's Shadow Cast performs in front of the iconic movie.

BWW Review: Don't Dream It, Be It at THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Boom is an interactive musical theatre experience that everyone should have once. And, it's an experience that nobody has only once. When you lose your virginity and become a Rocky Horror patron, you'll come back again and again.

Richard O'Brien's 1975 play-turned-movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show has never left theatres. It's been in limited release since it debuted and is the longest running film of all time. This is largely due to the cult following that it developed soon after it was released. Fans began showing up to midnight screenings dressed as their favorite characters, creating call-backs to shout at the screen, and even bringing their own props to play along with the action. The first of the Rocky Horror shadow casts began this way. Rocky Horror die-hards would act out the scenes in front of the movie as it played, and that is how the movie should always be experienced. It's also how The Boom does their production; with a Shadow Cast, this one a cast of professional actors. The Boom's jack of all trades Jeff Karl provides callbacks throughout the show.

Directed by Kara Chapman, this year's production is slightly different than normal. Of course, COVID has changed the way everyone does everything, and that includes RHPS. It's still very interactive, but cast members don't touch the audience or get too close. Far fewer audience members are pulled up on stage, although there is still a Virgin Sacrifice. Would it be Rocky Horror without it?

The show begins, loudly, with music coming up and Riff-Raff and Magenta appearing on stage. This year, and every year, The Boom features a rotating cast. That would be made more difficult because of the pandemic, but The Boom and company are taking every precaution. All actors are tested weekly and they all wear clear face shields. The costumes are so elaborate that the face coverings aren't even noticeable.

Paul Stafford as Riff-Raff and Jessica Carabajal as Magenta opening the show is one of the best parts of the whole night. They're both raunchy, off-the-cuff and unpredictable. In Rocky Horror, it's the unscripted moments that make for the biggest laughs. Riff-Raff and Magenta are creepy at best, siblings with an "unconventional" bond. Carabajal and Stafford, as always, play it up to the delight and shock of the audience.

After the introductions and a few ground rules, the movie begins. Soon we're introduced to Brad and Janet, the would-be protagonists of this unorthodox tale. Erin Heatly is Janet and Brett Young is Brad. Heatly has all the needed facial expressions to play a doe-eyed character like Janet. Presumably innocent, Heatly lets her wild side out in no time. Similarly, Young as Brad is aptly lacking any sort of personality, just as you'd expect from Brad. Heatly and Young have the mannerisms of their onscreen counterparts down to an art, complete with the preposterous level of shock they feign at every turn.

When Brad and Janet suffer a flat tire on a dark and stormy night, they seek refuge and a phone in the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Lucky for them, and even luckier for the audience, because finally the moment of antici.... pation has arrived.

Joshua T. McGowen is the infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. McGowen is a truly gifted artist and deeply commits to every role he's in. He makes a lustful and scandalous Frank, seemingly stepping right off the screen and into the audience at The Boom. Frank-N-Furter is over the top, the embodiment of Camp, and without this character, the world wouldn't be what it is today. Without Frank, there would be no midnight movies, no fandoms, and no rock musicals. Science Fiction and musical theatre would never mesh. The sexual revolution that was the 1970s wouldn't have been a fraction of what it was. Rocky Horror and the curly-haired "sweet transvestite" Frank-N-Furter changed the world. In the world of the Sexy, Weird, and Ridiculous, Frank-N-Furter is the reigning Queen. McGowen steps onto his throne and with his own piercing gaze, sexy stilettoed walk and gorgeously boisterous voice, he manifests this immortal character.

Frank's greatest life's work is the creation of a Man, and he invites Janet and Brad to experience the creature's "birth". Down to the lab they go, but not before they're stripped down to their underthings. Janet and Brad, now in their whiter than white underwear, are brought into a world they never expected.

Each year for the showings of Rocky Horror, The Boom cast picks an audience member to play the role of Rocky. Half prank, half interactive theatre, and all hilarity, they strip the poor victim down and pull a pair of gold hotpants over his boxers, or briefs, if he's wearing any, that is. Thankfully Chapman omitted it this year and cast an actor to play the role of Rocky. Considering Rocky has to get VERY close and personal with all cast members during the show, this is a smart decision for the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, particularly the actors on stage. It's a new tradition that will hopefully continue in future productions.

BWW Review: Don't Dream It, Be It at THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOWThis performance of Rocky is by Hagen Wano. Wano rotates alternate performances with Dakota Muckelrath. Wano plays along well as Rocky. Rocky is a newly created creature without a thought in his head. However, it's his body that Frank really cares about. Wano is adorably unassuming, flexing his muscles and seeming to have no idea the effect he has on Frank. A similar effect is found occurring to Janet. Wano and Heatly's strip-tease seduction during "Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me" is a provocative choreographed number that pushes the envelope and then some.

Audience members are indeed pulled to the front, but they're instructed to wear their masks and the cast keeps a safe distance. Happy to play along, patrons are pulled to play Eddie, Dr. Scott, and Columbia. No word on the credits for these "actors", however Columbia is played this night by Yours Truly. We'll save the critique of my performance for next year or longer.

When you attend Rocky Horror at The Boom, you HAVE to participate. The cast simply won't let you slip by unnoticed. That, however, is the fun of it. Rocky Horror is nonsensical fun, but deep down in its weird little heart is an important message. That message is one of self-acceptance and love, letting loose and enjoying yourself. It created a level of acceptance and representation never seen before and hardly seen since. 2020 has given us so much suffering. Rocky Horror provides the chance to finally give ourselves over to absolute pleasure.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Boom sells out every year and this year is no exception. The Boom offers a wide range of theatre, drag shows, trivia nights and musicals all year long. It's Oklahoma City's preeminent dinner theatre. For info on their upcoming events and to start planning for ROCKY next year, visit ticketstorm.com.


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From This Author Adrienne Proctor