This year marked my fourth year witnessing the Rocky Horror Picture show and my second time seeing the shadowcast at the Michigan Theater. The Leather Medusas, the group responsible for Ann Arbor’s contribution to the tradition of this cult classic, have again put on a great (sold out!) show that has gotten even louder and more rambunctious than before.
Beginning with an introduction from Penny Weiss (Janet’s cousin dressed in full Pennywise-chic drag, naturally), the show had energy through the roof. Doling out the rules, calling out the audience, and initiating the Rocky Horror Virgins in the most hilarious way, Penny Weiss was an undeniable icon that evening. She will be missed as it’s her last year performing, but she did go out with a wonderful performance as The Criminologist with a remarkable ensemble cast to match.
As soon as the curtains opened and the famous red lips appeared, people were not holding back with the call outs. At times there were so many people contributing to the cacophony that nothing was really heard but noise. It was amazing. Of course, where one sits determines the course of one’s night, and I had a pretty good spot. I was definitely getting a lot of noise, but every now and then a seasoned professional Rocky fan behind me would come out with some unexpected lines that caused the whole mezzanine to lose it. Central high points coming from the audience were the classics: an animated go at The Time Warp, a beautifully lit theater in There’s a Light (pictured), and plenty of playful oohs and cheers when the shadowcast got especially rowdy on stage.
Speaking of the actual stage work, the cast was fantastic. Sometimes I find it hard to not be mesmerized by Tim Curry’s amazing performance in the original, but throughout the movie I found myself watching and laughing at the little touches that made this student shadowcast special. Things like Eddie and Columbia’s impressive dance routine (complete with amazing, almost-gymnastic elements), Frankenfurter chasing Rocky up and down the theater aisles, and rampant, unabashed flossing brought something to the movie you just can’t get watching it on your laptop.
I highly encourage students to make Rocky a part of their Octobers next year (or next week– catch a showing that never fails to be hilarious at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak if you missed this one)!!!