Chicago Theatre Review
‘The Rocky Horror Show’… A Theatrical One-Night Stand!
By Cat Wilson
If you are at all familiar with the original musical, or the 1975 film adaptation, you know that there is absolutely nothing like ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, music, book, and lyrics by Richard O’Brien. This is a show designed to have full audience participation where you are instructed to yell out certain responses to frequently repeated lines, hold a mustache up to your nose when the narrator speaks, or even throw items at the stage at certain times. If you are new, it definitely helps to go with a buddy who knows the drill, however you will also be provided with a guide, or you can always follow everyone around you.
Awkward Pause presents ‘Rocky Horror’ in association with Mayne Stage, Chicago, and it feels like Mayne Stage was built for this show. The cabaret vibe is perfect, and there is full food and bar service during the show. The space itself is enhanced by a very talented production team who were very smart about how they focused their resources. The scenery, designed by Eric Luchen, is minimal, but alludes to the almost steam-punk castle that Brad and Janet, two young lovers, wander into when their car breaks down. They meet a disturbing cast of characters and Dr. Frankenfurter (Michael Buonincontro), a drag-queen alien who is working on creating the perfect man, Rocky Horror (Nick Vidal). Each character has a uniquely burlesque-meets-gothic appearance,
smartly crafted by costume designer Lissa Lamona with colorful masquerade make up by Doug Matson. Megan Turnquist (lighting designer) helps transform the castle scenes quickly from evening to campy song and dance numbers that will keep you laughing.
Many of the cast members are not new to Rocky Horror, some reprising their roles for the third or even seventh time, and their comfort and familiarity shows. It’s definitely not easy navigating dance numbers and stairs in five-inch heels! Buonincontro wears Frankenfurter’s character like a second skin, beautifully navigating the stage in drag. Corey L. Mills (Brad) and Erin O’Shea (Janet) hold on to their innocent personas very well, even among the audience’s shouts, and Frankenfurter’s assistants (played by Charlotte Mae Ellison, Kallie Miller, Megan Schemmel, and Kevin Buswell) create a sassy burlesque atmosphere.
Due to its graphic, highly sexual nature, this is not a show to take your children to. But for those looking for a great night out, this is definitely a show to go see!
The Rocky Horror Show
Book, music, and lyrics by Richard O’Brien
Directed by Christopher Weise
Music Direction by Jason Krumwiede
Choreography by Jennifer Reeves Wilson
Performance Dates: Oct 12, 20, 26, 31 @ midnight, and Oct 21 @ 8pm.
Mayne Stage, Chicago
1328 West Morse Ave