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The Rocky Horror Show

October 9, 2019

 The Rocky Horror Show is delivering up some raucous fun at Park Square Theater in downtown Saint Paul. If you've ever wondered why Rocky Horror was such a cult hit Park Square's production is sure to lead to some clarity. It is fast paced, high energy and with an off beat sense of humor that makes you want to keep coming back. The movie has become such a sensation that midnight showings are known for reenactments and props with which the audience to participate along with the show. This is a live theater production, so please don't try to sing along and leave dancing in the aisles to the actors. But if you want to participate along with the show, Park Square is selling participation packs for $5 at the concession stand filled with electric candles, newspapers, and squirt bottles for all your participatory desires. 

 

The cast of the show is fantastic and energy filled. Gracie Anderson plays Frank and delivers a vocally strong performance and one filled with Frank-n-Furter's iconic antici....pation. Ben Lohrberg as Brad and Natalie Shaw and Janet were hilarious as the "stiff" good boy and girl, and were great foils to the rest of the inhabitants of Frank's house. Randy Schmeling was perfect as Riff Raff, he was deftly able to ride the line between being both creepy and inviting. The cast was rounded out by Ricky Morisseau as the Narrator, Celena Vera Morgan as Columbia, Hope Nordquist as Magenta, Rush Benson as Rocky, Cameron Reeves as Eddie and Sara Ochs as Dr. Scott. 

As much fun as the show is on the surface, it can get uncomfortable and painful if you dive any deeper. The plot for those who are not familiar (SPOILERS AHEAD)  centers around the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, where Frank (a self proclaimed sweet transvestite) and their assistants are working to create a man (Rocky) after disposing of their last creation. Into this house of "horrors" comes Brad and Janet, an innocent recently engaged couple whose car broke down. What follows is a night of sexual awakening lead by Frank, and shortly after the next day it is revealed that Frank and their assistants are all aliens they are then killed out of vengeance.  It is a troublesome story for 2019 (although some with some potential) and I was very curious to see what Park Square was going to do with it. However I was disappointed that despite the nontraditional casting choice of Frank little went changed. Frank is still a shown as a villain (be it a very fun villain) and an alien. Which as a character who enters the show singing "I'm just  sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania"  to evolve in such a way throughout the show seems to go against the leaps and bounds that we have made as a culture in understanding the nuances of gender identity since the show premiered in 1973.

 

Rocky Horror Show is playing at the Park Square Theater through November 2nd. Click here for more information and how to get tickets.  

 

 

*Photo by Dan Norman

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