Review: ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ opens the summer season at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse
‘The Rocky Horror Show’, with book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien, has gathered quite the following since its premiere in London in 1973. This dark but humorous rock musical was also made into a film entitled ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ in 1975. As the years went on the show’s popularity grew as obsessed fans would crowd into theaters for midnight showings. Even today, fans will dress up, bring props and enthusiastically participate using the many “shout-out” lines throughout the production. Seeing the musical live is truly a wild theatrical experience.
The Winnipesaukee Playhouse opens their summer season with this cult classic and it surpassed all my expectations! Directed by Timothy L’Ecuyer and choreographed by Bryan Knowlton, this production grabs a hold of the audience during the pre-show as cast members guide audience members to their seats. Music directed by Shoshana Seid-Green, it features a lively five-piece band. The detailed, multi-level set was designed by Dan Daly and housed the band up stage under the open stairs. The intricate lighting was designed by Matthew Guminski and featured multiple chandeliers and strings of colored lights hanging over the stage. The set and lights paired together wonderfully, each accentuating the other. The costumes were nicely designed by Chelsea Kerl and of course included heels & fishnets. The hair and make-up designs by Nick Cochran further enhanced the costumes and the uniqueness of the characters themselves.
While the entire cast, which featured Playhouse veterans as well as newcomers, was fully immersed in their characters, singing and dancing up a storm, there were a few stand-out performances that took this show to the next level of professional, high-quality theatre. Rebecca Tucker, as Janet Weiss, and Michael Luongo, as Brad Majors, were perfect together. They had great chemistry and demonstrated strong vocals and character choices. John-Michael Breen, as Riff Raff, showcased stellar vocals throughout and perfect characterization. His, is the best portrayal of Riff Raff I have seen. I loved every minute of it! Last, but certainly not least, was the phenomenal portrayal of Frank-N-Furter played by Mark Stephen Woods. His characterization was, thankfully, unlike the others I have seen and his vocals were on point. I really enjoyed his diva fierceness that was always ready with snappy comebacks not only shot at the other characters, but towards the audience as well. Woods was amazing and the audience clearly loved his performance as noted by the standing ovation they gave.
The only problem I found with this production was the sound quality. There were many instances where the microphones either were not working for an actor’s vocal lines or they were not leveled properly against the volume of the band. Other times there was feedback or static in the speakers making it difficult to hear certain performers. That being said, the technical difficulties within the performance were minor and didn’t inhibit the audiences’ ability to enjoy the production. Overall, this was a fantastic show and for fans of the musical, it is a must see! ©
The show runs 2 hours including intermission. It plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until June 24th with performances Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30pm, a 2pm Matinee on Monday, June 19th and a special Midnight performance on Saturday, June 17th. Tickets range from $20-$34. For additional information and tickets visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org
Please Note: ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is recommended for mature audiences as it contains graphic language, sexualcontent and adult situations.
Special Events from the Education Department:
Tuesday, June 20th at6pm – Symposium
Join us for an enlightening conversation led by an expert in a field connected to the production.
Wednesday, June 21st - Talk-back
Following the performance, you’re invited for an informal discussion with the cast and creative team.
Angelica has an A.S. in Theatre, earned a specialty degree in Shakespeare from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in Psychology from SNHU. In addition to writing, she stays busy teaching dance and choreographing for a local studio.
For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/