Monday, October 22, 2012

'Rocky Horror Show' is a bizarre treat

Mandalee Flannery and Nathan Patton in "The Rocky: Horror Show"
By Cheryl Thornburg

There’s nothing quite like the bizarre rock musical “The Rocky Horror Show” to get the blood pumping and the audience jumping to the “Time Warp” and Alpha/Omega Players’ current production doesn’t disappoint.
The show, which must have been shocking and controversial when it opened in the early ’70s, got off to a “rocky” start – its U.S. debut in L.A. lasted only three previews and 45 shows. Since  then, the musical and the subsequent movie have developed a passionate and loyal fan base that not only come to see the show, but participate in it. Be prepared to be sitting next to someone in a skimpy Burlesque costume or some bizarre regalia.
The show, with its sexual content and strong language, is definitely not for children, but for adults who enjoy racy and raucous humor, this show fills the bill. One of the song titles says it all.  “Sweet Transvestite” delivered with camp and style by Jacob Cowan as Frank ”N” Furter, is one of the highlights of the show.
The character is at the heart of this zany production as the mad scientist who is  surrounded by some sexy and uninhibited followers.
Stumbling into this unusual household is a young, newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, whose car has broken down on a dark and stormy night.
Nathan Patton and Mandalee Flannery play the couple with a sweet sincerity and even sweeter voices as they are drawn into the dark goings-on in the Frankenstein-like setting.  Their duet, “Damn It,  Janet,” showcases the purity of their voices.  Later on, Flannery gets to rock it out in “Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me” and she does so with equal skill.
There are many standout roles and numbers in this show, giving each performer a turn in the spotlight.
Sharon Ruegsegger, James Barksdale and Kirsten Heim get the joint jumping with “Time Warp” as Magenta, Riff Raff and Columbia.  Their powerful voices and stage presence bring these memorable characters to life.
Speaking of bringing to life, there’s Frank ”N” Furter’s creation,  Rocky, played with enthusiasm by Morgan Eppenstein.
Tyler Reppert plays both Eddie and Dr. Scott and delivers arguably one of the most fun performances of the night as Eddie gets things rockin’ with “Hot Patootie.”
Tying everything together is Randy Miller as the Narrator.  Tongue firmly implanted in cheek, Miller recounts the story with just the right touch of bemusement.
In addition the cast also includes talented singer/dancer/comedians whose energy gives the show its momentum. They are Destiny Hepner, Jess Pennington, Melissa Kaufmann, Jewell Brown, Megan Centeno, Meghan Austin, and Elizabeth Limper as the Phantoms.
As always in a small theater, the choreography can be challenging and Melissa Kauffman has met the challenge by using not only the stage, but the aisles to make the most of each routine.
At the close of the show, audience members are invited to join the cast to do the “Time Warp” and many of them do. The entire show encourages audience participation. Special goodie bags can be purchased before the show with items to be used on cue at various times throughout the production.
The audience is encouraged to come in costume and there is a contest at every performance.
The show is directed by Mark A. Drey with Nathan Patton as musical director.  The pit band includes Mark Drey (conductor), Jim Kauffman, Jeff Schmidt and J.P. Feenstra.
Part science fiction, part B-horror movie, this over-the top musical is not just a show, it’s an experience. Remaining shows are Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 27at 8 p.m. and midnight in the Alpha/Omega Performing Arts Center, 301 E. First Street, Birdsboro, PA  19508. For reservations, contact Alpha Omega Players at 610-404-4844.  Tickets are $22.


Anonymous Patti Ellis said...

Awesome Show! We attended opening night. Exciting, fun filled and audience participation. The cast and crew did a great job!!! A MUST see!!

October 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM 

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