THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Sherman Community Players
Directed by Darrah Dunn
Assistant Director- Chessica Moon Burton
Music Director- John McGinn
Technical Director- Maxwell Norris
Stage Manager- Lisa Martin
Set Construction Crew- Maxwell Norris, Steven Milward, Darah Dunn
Costumes/Props - Caera Flood, Logan Shurtleff
Frank- Aaron Jobe
Brad- Timothy Austin Jr.
Janet- Kate Burke
Riff-Raff- Jaden Petty
Columbia- Lilly Boessen
Magenta/Usherette- Carissa Hodges
Eddie/Dr. Scott- Eric Vest
Rocky- Branden Wood
Ensemble- Karen Droegemier, David Griffith, Haley Hines, Faith Horsley, Megan Kiel, Crystal Kingston, Marissa Nelson, Jayson Patrick Schafer, Stephan Finch Stewart
Reviewed Performance: 10/16/2022
Reviewed by Gemma Ramsey, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Before getting to individual performances that stood out to me, let's talk a bit about the technical aspects of the show. I must, first and foremost, commend the outstanding costuming done by Caera Flood and Logan Shurtleff. I was enamored by every single outfit worn by the cast, including the ensemble. Members of the ensemble tend to get the short end of things when it comes to costuming, and I was extremely pleased to see that the love was well shared when it came to putting together the wardrobe of the entire cast. The lighting for the production was a bit simple, but it certainly worked for this production. I was a bit disappointed by the harsh green chosen for “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” but overall, the lighting design was serviceable. Something I am always picky about when it comes to musicals is the sound. Unfortunately, there were several issues with microphones not quite being EQ’ed correctly, which caused a few performers to sound a little blown out and distorted throughout the performance. The set was fairly simple, but it worked. With a show that has so many moving parts and outlandish ideas, you have to make do with what you have. I can categorically say the crew that designed and built this playground for the actors did a wonderful job adapting the outlandish looks of Frank’s castle.
Now, the part everyone cares about- how was the cast? In a word, they were marvelous. To start, Timothy Austin Jr. and Kate Burke made the perfect Brad and Janet. Their chemistry was strong, and they positively LOOKED the part. Timothy Austin Jr. had unquestionably zero shame when it came to the ridiculous nature of his character, and the man can rock some heels. He was endearing and fun to watch, and his performance of “Once in a While” was fantastic. He and the ensemble members that joined him put on one of my favorite numbers of the afternoon. Kate Burke as Janet reminded me very much of Susan Sarandon’s turn in the role. She played the innocent Janet to perfection but came out swinging once Janet let loose as a character. “Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me” had great energy, and she did not hold back on the physicality of the number. It was easy to buy that she was seducing Rocky, and her backup from Lilly Boessen and Carissa Hodges (Columbia and Magenta respectively) once again made for a stand-out number.
Somehow, as wonderful as the leads of the show are, the real showstoppers are the supporting cast. Lilly Boessen as Columbia had such intense energy and shine that she stole nearly every scene she was in. She has a stellar voice and had some of the best line deliveries in the show. Carissa Hodges, who played Magenta and the usherette that opens and closes the show, had more energy than I have seen in any one performer in a long time. As Magenta, she was practically vibrating throughout the whole performance. It brought great comedic moments and made her one of the most memorable people on the stage. Another stand-out was Eric Vest as Eddie and Dr. Scott. Singing anything Meatloaf put his voice to is a hell of a task, and I feel he achieved a performance he can be proud of. He, of course, really stood out as Dr. Scott, however. His comedic timing was truly golden, and that German accent was solid as stone. I like poking holes in accents, and he didn’t give me an opportunity. That is an absolute win, in my book. Oh, and “Eddie’s Teddy” was, by far, the best number in the entire show; in no small part due to the hilariously strong vocals provided by Vest.
Aaron Jobe had the near-impossible task of stepping into Tim Curry’s heels as Frank, and for the most part, he did a wonderful job. His stage presence was strong and he was oozing confidence, but his one downfall was perhaps trying a little too hard to be Tim Curry. It’s always difficult to fill a role played by such an iconic actor because our first instinct is to imitate them in some way. It takes away from what we, ourselves, bring to the table; it also sets an impossible self-imposed standard. He gave a great performance; I just wish this performance was more Jobe and less Curry. Jaden Petty’s Riff Raff was incredibly electric, and his chemistry with Carissa Hodges was near perfection. The bizarre dynamic between Riff Raff and Magenta takes work to perfect, and they pulled it off in a way that felt effortless. And all of this was capped off by a stellar ensemble that took their roles to heart from start to finish. The backbone of any musical is the ensemble, and these individuals brought energy and a carefree attitude that put this show over the top in a way that will remain in my mind for a long time. They are the unsung heroes of the show, and Darrah Dunn’s choice to fortify the ensemble by making it bigger was the best decision he could have possibly made.
Given the iconic nature of Rocky Horror, I was a little nervous about this production when I walked in the door. I can firmly say my hesitation was completely unwarranted. I had without a doubt such a wonderful time, and I am sure you will too. Just remember that this is decidedly NOT for the little ones. Maybe get a sitter and have a date night instead.
Runs thru October 23rd
Thursday-Sunday, with shows at 7:30 PM and a 2:00 PM matinee on Sunday.
Get your tickets at scptheater.org or by calling the box office at 903-892-8818