The Rocky Horror Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Rocky Horror Show

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The Rocky Horror Show, Stage Two Theatre Company, at the Estonian House. The Rocky Horror Show is the campy 1973 musical that inspired the 1975 cult film. The plot, for those who don't already know it, involves a young, clean-cut midwestern couple (David Tibble and Sarah B. Lukey in this production) whose car breaks down one night outside the home of the sweet, depraved transvestite Frank-N-Furter (an excellently slinky Joel Hoover); Frank takes apart their sexual mores in an entertaining, over-the-top way that combines elements of science fiction, comic books, and drag shows. Fans of the movie will notice a few small differences in the live version: the order of two songs is switched, and there are fewer background characters. What's striking about this production, however, is that the talk-back lines, usually spoken more or less spontaneously by the audience, are instead scripted and spoken by the ensemble. And rather than bringing their own accoutrements, audience members can buy a bag of props (including a small flashlight and colored rice) for $5--the theater even helpfully tells the audience when they should be used by flashing an item number on a small screen. These choices by director Stephen M. Genovese make the play simultaneously funnier--because you can hear all the usually garbled talk-back lines--and less fun. Genovese's choreography is disappointingly flat, but music director A. Scott Williams works magic, pulling textured harmonies out of the cast.

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