Omaha Community Playhouse’s ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ reveiw
December 6, 2019
Richard O’Brien’s cult classic musical, “The Rocky Horror Show” brought down the house with show-stopping numbers “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite” at the Omaha Community Playhouse. This show was a little out of the norm for OCP, but they put on a good production.
“Rocky Horror” is a show that pulls the crazy out of everyone. It is very much a show for the outcasts. Being represented by Frank-N-Furter, the alien “transvestite from Transylvania” was perfectly brought to life by Benn Sieff, his creepily meticulous handyman Riff Raff was played by Kevin Buswell, his colorfully childish groupie Columbia was played by hilarious Olivia Howard and his eccentrically witchy maid Magenta was OCP veteran Erica Hall-Sieff.
The audience was filled with people who got to experience the film at its prime and they came in costume with the biggest smiles.
OCP caused some controversy over their casting of minors, many of whom were current and former Central students, however, they did a great job of respectfully using youth actors and managed to be age appropriate by not including them in the more explicit scenes.
The Transylvanians, or ensemble characters, were insane in all the right ways. They were the light of the show in every scene. They created the perfect environment to allow the characters and audience to react the way they should by dancing with light sticks and wearing the most over the top outfits anyone could possibly imagine. They drew so much attention to how bizarre they were but could easily pass it back to the lead when it was necessary.
The Playhouse also did an incredible job of using the limited space in the Howard Drew theater where “Rocky Horror” took place. The set stayed the same nearly the entire show which greatly limited the use of stagehands. The stairs leading to the catwalk, the ticket box in which the narrator figure camped out and the many levels of the platforms created a versatile layout.
A big aspect of seeing the show live, as any diehard fan would know, is the audience participation. The crowd gets to throw things and shout out phrases. Some fans come ready with all the callouts and yell them out nearly every other line. This makes the job of any performer in the production a little harder. They must be prepared for anything the audience may say…. and I mean anything.
While at the box office getting tickets, patrons were given the opportunity to buy a bag filled with the props they would be asked to use. There was also a projection onto the stage telling people what to shout out.
However, they only projected a small portion of the shout outs, so some people took it upon themselves to do them all and the cast was obviously not prepared. The narrator did an incredible job going along with whatever was thrown at him, and it made his scenes so much better. Other actors would try to yell over the crowd in attempt to continue the scene without stopping. It became very uncomfortable to watch.
The projections also never told people what to do with the props they had purchased. Some experienced “Rocky Horror” goers knew what to do and the rest of the audience would frantically try to follow along.
Show–goers tended to be confused while watching “Rocky Horror” if they did not know the story prior to seeing it until the song “Eddie” where things start to be explained. This song takes place when the scientist Dr. Everett V. Scott comes to visit. We find out that he is Eddie’s (Frank-N-Furter and Columbia’s former lover) uncle. All of this unfolds at a dinner party. Yep, a dinner party.
Some of the scenes like the song “Eddie” seemed to have very little thought put into them and came off as amateur even. There was no hint that the song took place at a dinner party or that anything was really happening being as the characters stood in a line the entire song. Yet, other moments like Olivia Howard’s show stopping exit after being hit by a ray gun by Frank-N-Furter were so incredibly preformed that the audience had to clap for a solid minute afterwards.
A standout moment was the song “Once in a While” performed by the character Brad (Cale Albracht). The simplistic yet heartwarming choreography brilliantly realized by choreographer Courtney Cairncross along with his wonderful vocals added a touching and sincere feel to the over the top vibe of the production.
The premise of the musical, directed by Kaitlynn McClincy, is that the audience is watching the tale unfold in the form of a movie. The show starts in a movie theater featuring two ushers who start the audience on the journey the night will become. McClincy kept the narrator figure, masterfully performed by veteran actor Rob Baker, as an usher sitting in the ticket window making comments throughout the entire show.
The Omaha Community Playhouse put on a wonderful production of “The Rocky Horror Show” and clearly Omaha audiences agreed since the shows were sold out, causing them to schedule even more productions.