Monday, July 12, 2010

Rocky Horror Live

Going to a Rocky Horror midnight showing, I've heard, is one of those things that you have to do at least once. The other day I went with some friends of mine to see the 35-year-old cult hit in Albany.

A different set of jaws

 I had never seen the film up to that point, and I was pretty much unaware of what was going to happen at the theater. I was expecting a B-movie with some audience participation, but this production turned out to have a cast hired to dress up like the characters, provide an introduction and even act out the movie as it plays in the background.

As we lined up outside, the staff came around to announce the rules (no rice, no open flames, no cameras, etc) and haze first-time viewers. One staffer wrote all over my face with her lipstick for being new, but seeing a crowd of people dressed in ridiculous outfits and showing similar graffiti on their faces kept me from feeling out of place.

Before the show, there was a little bit of standup comedy from the guy dressed as Riff, a costume contest and events like a butt dance competition for the Rocky "virgins," after which the cast was introduced and the movie started rolling.

Not your everyday movie-going experience
Throughout the show, the audience is expected to participate. The crowd blows bubbles, dances the Time Warp, calls Brad an asshole at every opportunity, throws toast and toilet paper (though not at the stage, the reasoning being that the cast is cheap but the screen is expensive), while making a variety of old and new jokes about parts of the film, sometimes in unison.
  Throwing stuff during Doctor Scott's entrance

The cast's many well-done costumes and props allowed them to mirror the events onscreen very well, and a few scenes had them coming down from the stage to chase each other around in the aisles.

There were some problems, however. Much of the time the audio was hard to make out over the constant shouting of the audience, which was often unintelligible when they weren't in sync with one another. As a first time viewer, the result was that I didn't really know what was going on a lot of the time.

A lot of time the crowd seemed to try to make their own jokes to go along with the traditional callback lines, but good ones were few and far between and hard to hear over the stream of countless lame cock jokes coming from some audience members, including one really loud guy three seats away from me.

The noise issue was less of a factor about 30 minutes in as the crowd started to calm down, but it was bad enough to cause a handful of "virgins" to walk out of the theater early on.

I recommend seeing the movie on TV or DVD at least once to be able to appreciate or at least understand the live experience. All in all the show was pretty fun, but I probably didn't get as much out of it as I could have due to my lack of familiarity with the film and the culture surrounding it.

This particular Rocky Horror production was put on by Shadowplay Productions (also known as Barely Legal). They are scheduled to perform the show at midnight on the second saturday of every month at Twin Cinemas in Albany, CA. If you like yelling things and dressing in drag, then by all means go see it!

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who likes Rocky should make a pilgrimage to the Nuart and see Sins of the Flesh

    (They're hosting the Rocky convention this year! It's gonna be the first Saturday in 15 years that the Nuart will not host Rocky. Or something like that)

    Alsooo for anyone who didn't get the movie, I quote my co-worker: "I think by the end, the filmmakers didn't know what the movie was about"

    PS: Allie, Calvert and I want to make Rocky bonding happen. For sureee