“OTC SERVES UP FUN AND FEAR WITH ROCKY HORROR LIVE”

October, 2014

Perfect for the scariest time of year—Halloween, not the mid-term elections—Our Theatre Company is serving up some vintage horror at Nassan Little Theatre, 475 Main St., Springvale.

OTC’s production of The Rocky Horror Show is everything you would expect it to be for seasoned Rocky fans and “virgins” alike. A fun dose of community theater? A rock ‘n roll party? An edgy celebration of diversity? Yes to all of the above.

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of a newly engaged couple—Brad Majors (Dustin Niehoff) and Janet Weiss (Kelsey Seavey)—who get caught in a storm and end up at the Frankenstein Castle in search of help. What they find instead is a mad transvestite scientist who unveils his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror. What ensues is a bricolage of confused relationships, sexual escapades, interplanetary chases, and aliens who just want to get back to their planet.

Face it, the show is over 40 years old so there’s some level of attrition among the original fans who embraced the cutting-edge buffet of creative characters, fun music, interactive boldness and over-the-top humor. Nonetheless, this musical spoof of science fiction and horror B movies, with book and music by Richard O’Brien, has developed a cult following that has become arguably as vital to the musical’s success as the cast and crew.

OTC’s Rocky Horror Show effectively and unabashedly brings the relatively new theater company’s vision statement to life, thanks to the efforts of Artistic Director Marc Ciaraldi who is metaphorically perfect in his role as Dr. Frank N. Furter, the pansexual, cross-dressing mad scientist who creates Rocky Horror.

As OTC’s Artistic Director, he is successful in shepherding and fostering talent from the local community. As Director, Choreographer and Music Supervisor for this production, he did very well to merge a maximum of available resources, in the shortest of time, to deliver an engaging, innovating entertainment experience.

But it’s Ciaraldi’s portrayal of Dr. Frank N. Furter that is a true tour de force. With every ounce of passion and nuance, the actor and character become fused in the same quest: “Don’t dream it, BE it!”

Quite inspiring. Bravo!

Corey A. Coffin admirably handled the evolving role of the Narrator with skill. Scott Richardson did a fine job as Rocky Horror (a young Bowie/Ziggy Stardust). Joslyn Benoit was fun as Riff Raff, and Bri Ryan was doubly fun in her dual roles as Eddie and Doctor Scott.

Two standouts were Paula Dyer—superb as Columbia throughout, but shined with her vocal ability in Act II—and Gwendolyn Benoit, whose stage presence was commanding in her role as Usherette and Magenta.

The Phantoms (the ensemble) were not to be overshadowed and added some wonderful cheesy and campy production elements to the scenes and the production numbers. Kudos to Kimber Stoops, Shelby Whitehouse, Kelsey Seavey, Emily Morris and Maggie Carlock.

The “Unsung Hero” Award goes to Cathy King, Stage and Production Manager who was also ever-present and ever-subtle as a Phantom, dancing and singing while magically clearing props, moving stage pieces, and gracefully maintaining order to the mayhem.

The performance space is a small 75-seat shared recreational venue with bleachers/theater style seats. The sets are minimal, with only suggestive set pieces, and the scene changes are done with full audience knowledge, adding to the casual environment.

The vocals were a bit uneven in power and pitch, a common occurrence among a cast with varying experience levels, singing with soundtracks in keys sometimes written for the other gender.

The call-back crew was alive and well, keeping the cast on its feet and the audience engaged with comments that may or not be appropriate. But that’s a welcome part of the experience, as are certain props that the audience is invited to bring.

The Rocky Horror Show runs October 17-25. Friday shows are at 8 pm, Saturday shows are at midnight. General Admission is $10 for ages 18+ (due to mature themes). To reserve tickets and FMI, call 297-4995 or visit http://www.myotc.org.

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–Louis Philippe

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