If You Can’t Do Something Right…. Don’t Do It At All

Last night I drove up to Wilmington, NC to see the last showing of Rocky Horror at Thalian Hall. It was a true example of the above statement as you could find both sides: those doing it right, and those who shouldn’t have done it at ALL.

First of all, the actual show was amazing. The cast was wonderful, and the set, music, and choreography were spot on. It was fresh and funny, the updated costumes were perfect, and the director made some key decisions that made it absolutely wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the following:

  • The decision to have the Phantoms (ensemble) mingling with the audience before the show. It made it a party atmosphere and got me shivering with antici-

pation. That was such a smart choice, and sadly the most action I’ve seen in a while.

Yeah baby

  • The usage of the ensemble to make Brad & Janet’s “car” including “headlights” on 2 girls’ bums.
  • Riff Raff’s (Leo Grinberg) hysterical faces behind Frank’s (Justin Smith) back regarding Rocky.
  • The interaction with the audience, in particular from Riff Raff, Frank, and Brad (Sam Robison)

The entire cast was amazing, I had seen Sam Robison as Mark in Rent back in 2009 (I saw that with my then neighbor George Domby whom actually played Dr. Scott in this production) and he was very memorable as I found myself nearly 4 years later going “Hey, isn’t that the guy who played Mark when we saw Rent?” Rocky Horror also had the same music director, Chiaki Ito and actress Amy Tipton whom played Maureen rejoined Sam as Janet.

She was AMAZING, he was AMAZING. I can’t even say enough. Amy was perfectly innocent but with that sensual undercurrent that was teased out, and the voice of a fallen angel. Sam was adorkrable as Brad, nerdy as heck, especially in physical mannerisms, but able to pull off enough sex appeal to make the audience see what Janet saw in him.

Also amazing were Paul Teal and Justin Smith as Rocky and Dr. Frank-N-Furter respectively. Justin towered over the cast in those heels, and absolutely brought it, to the point where at the wrap party I thought to myself “Who is this random dude in the sweater???” According to the program, Paul played Noah in The Notebook Musical (which I auditioned for once upon a time!) so as soon as I got home I sent Bethany Joy Lenz (who wrote the libretto for The Notebook Musical and I knew sort of kind of vaguely when we both lived in Wilmington during One Tree Hill’s reign) a tweet telling her how absolutely fantastic he was as Rocky! Which he was. Usually Rocky is kind of a lunk, a little dense even for having just been born. Paul’s Rocky was smart, savvy, and sensitive! I felt much, much more for the character with his interpretation than I did for even the movie one!

Paul as Rocky and Sam as Brad

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about the amazing talent (amazing enough I was too awed to say a word to any of them at the wrap party.) Although before I move on to those who shouldn’t have I must mention that this fabulous display made me regret moving from Wilmington. These were my people! Well, they could have been if I’d not moved.

Now, those who shouldn’t have. Sorry kids, gonna call you out by name here: Pineapple Shaped Lamps Comedy Troupe. They provided the shadow-casting and audience participation. I heard they were hired to. That’s sad. Maybe it was different with larger audience, but this go round was awful. At one point, I believe it was during “I’m Going Home” they got going on a black tar heroin gag that almost had me yelling back “GET NEW MATERIAL.” So here is my advice to them:

  • Timing. Work on it. Ya’ll were so damn out of sync talking over one another. Maybe stick with the classic call backs until you got that down. In addition to timing of call backs work on the length of the call back. This was the black tar heroin thing again. Attempting to spit all of that out in the tiny bit of space made it run together “aboutblacktarheroin” until it was almost indistinguishable. It would have been far more beneficial to find something shorter to put in that spot, ie. “I’m a plushie.” or “about bath salts.”
  • New stuff: While some stuff is classic (asshole!), and some new stuff was funny (that Miley Cyrus jab in particular comes to mind) some of it was a bad idea (Obama slam???? IN A THEATRE? REALLY?! Even I know better.) maybe update some stuff but be careful. Don’t sacrifice the art of the call back just for the sake of the pop culture joke.
  • I did dig the costumes though!

All in all it was an enjoyable night and I could go on and on but I’m too fucking tired for that shit. MWAH! Love to the entire cast!

You rock!

NBC’s Camp – Episode 1 – Pilot

I started writing this as a Facebook update, but I got wordy. So I decided to move it over here!

So I’m watching that new NBC show, Camp. It’s okay, but I just can’t bring myself to get invested like I want to with summer shows. It’s almost like it’s trying so hard to be something it’s not. A sort of, kind of throw back (hello does anyone actually go to “family camps” any more?) but modern at the same time (“They don’t even have internet!”) It’s interesting in that it’s not a typical “teens being counselors to cute kids and learning something about themselves while having sexy time.” All age groups means lots of different drama, and such to tell about.

There’s something vaguely seedy about the adults’ storylines being surrounded by the kids though. Is real life like this? Are divorced moms really getting mad at their teen sons, pushing them in a lake and then going and getting super drunk and hooking up with a guy she hates in his car? (Now that I type that…) If this is the adults, what are the teens going to get up to? Also, why are all the teens so dang pretty? Even the “nerdy” ones are very pretty, or cute in a nerd way. It is also telling that even the ones I’m supposed to root for I only marginally liked, until they got high, then they were pretty funny impersonating the owners’ ex’s new Russian (and much younger) girlfriend. (“When did she become French?”)

I’m also kind of over this whole, my life is falling apart so I’m gonna screw someone inappropriate thing, as well as the nerdy teens vs. the muscle-necked jocks (Or as the camp owner says, “big dumb frat boys”.) Clich├ęs abound! I am drowning in them, and I have lost my eyeballs because they rolled out of my head. (Unfortunately they aren’t glass. I can’t even believe that’s a thing that made it into the episode! A throw-away bit about a dude’s glass eye?) Maybe the second episode will be better because it won’t be so much of having to get to know everyone’s back-stories (especially since I won’t remember half of them.)

My favorite part, the best people, hello let’s have more of them please, is the lovely interracial gay couple and their adorable (and defensive) interracial family! From the moment I saw them contemplating exactly how many $40 bottles of gin they NEED to make it through family camp I knew I’d found kindred spirits. Not because I drink gin, or much of anything, but because I knew they’d be deliciously snarky and lovely throughout.

The other thing I kind of love in an ironic way is that this show, set at an all American, Dirty Dancing-esque, Family Summer Camp, is filmed in NEW ZEALAND. With AUSTRALIAN actors.