REVIEW: Rocky Horror Picture Show

Happy Halloween everyone! This has been a great weekend, and seeing the Rocky Horror Picture show was absolutely a highlight for me. What a fantastic movie, shadow cast, and audience for my first experience with this cult classic.

To start, the movie was absolutely silly and made no sense at all. This was partly because it was just a nonsensical movie in general, but also because the crowd was shouting things over the dialogue for a good amount of the show. Sometimes, this was a bit annoying, but I understood that most of the people there had seen the movie many times before and did not need to hear the dialogue to know what was going on. But most of the things people were shouting were very raunchy and hilarious. Once I figured out some of the themes (e.g. you shout certain things when a certain person comes on screen) I was shouting right along with them. It made the movie a lot more interesting, even if it did make it harder to follow.

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Picture Show – [art]seen

I also really enjoyed the addition of a shadow cast. This was a group of people with minimal costumes and props who were sort of acting out what the characters were doing on the screen. I thought this was a very smart addition as so many people had seen the movie before so it made it a lot more interesting. The actors also sometimes did different things than what was on screen, usually for comedic effect, so it aided the movie comedy and gave it another layer. If it had been my 20th time seeing this show I would definitely have been bored by just the movie, so they were an awesome addition. Plus they were great dancers and actors!

But one of the best parts of the entire experience was definitely the audience itself. The show was sold out, with every seat filled (except those empty for Covid spacing). I could tell everyone there was genuinely excited about the experience. There were a ton of fun costumes, interesting interpretations of many of the characters, and just some generally awesome outfits. The whole time the audience was fully engaged with the performance, and there was lots of clapping and shouting during the more memorable scenes of the movie. I had never seen it before so the movie was new to me, which made people’s commentary even better, because a lot of it was anticipatory. For example, when something silly was about to happen people started chanting for it, and were cheering and clapping when it happened. I don’t think there was a moment of silence from the crowd for the entire film. My favorite part was when everyone got up and danced to one of the songs, and I swear the entire crowd was on their feet singing and shouting.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show' gets the shadowcast treatment at Michigan Theater | The Scene

To anyone who was at the movie, thank you for sharing that experience with me. If you missed it, don’t worry, there is always next Halloween! This was one of the most fun movies I have ever been to see, and I can’t wait to go again soon.

PREVIEW: Rocky Horror Picture Show

When I saw that the Rocky Horror Picture show was on for this year, I almost screamed with excitement. I am a Rocky Horror virgin, and I have been dying to see this show for years now! Rocky Horror is a 1975 cult classic, starring two sweethearts that get stuck with a flat tire in a storm, and have to take shelter at a spooky mansion. In the mansion they encounter a house that is filled with wild and wacky characters. They dance, sing, and generally get weird for about 95 minutes.

Rocky Horror is playing at the Michigan Theater on Friday October 29th at 10 pm. This performance will also feature a live music group that will be singing along with the songs in the movie! Additionally, this is a show where the crowd gets very involved- they sing along, throw things at the cast, and are generally quite rowdy. I have been looking forward to this for weeks, and can’t wait to tell you all how it goes!

Link to more info:

REVIEW: The Wild Party

This show unquestionably lived up to its name! I was so happy to be going to see live theater again after the height of the pandemic, and this was a fantastic show to begin on. I loved the music, vocals, outfits, and just the experience of being in a theater with a live audience after such a long time.

The first thing I think it is important to comment on is the fantastic vocals from both the lead actors. I was awed by their voices, and I realized that I have never really heard anyone from the SMTD program sing before. I enjoyed their solos as well as their duets, and I got a great sense of the major vocal ranges that both of them possessed. The music also provided many opportunities to impress, as it was complex and well written. I loved the sort of jazzy style of some of the music, and I thought each song sounded unique from the others. Also, this musical had basically no dialogue and was almost entirely singing. So I was doubly impressed that there was full voice singing and dancing the entire show, which was over 2 hours.

I also loved some of the more modern implements, the most interesting of which was the inclusion of “phones” as a prop. In many of the scenes, the characters were holding phone-shaped items that just let off enough light to be bright in the darkness. They used these props as phones, as a way to light up their faces, and as faux recording devices during exciting moments. I think this prop brought the show into a more modern “gossip girl” style, as it was advertised that it would do. However, I think it wasn’t enough to let me know that was the intent without me having known that beforehand. While I did really think this prop was cool, I was actually hoping they would do more with it. Perhaps a part of the show could have been in darkness with the phones as the only light, which could have looked very cool.

The only critique I really have for this show was the sparkly streamers that lined the back and sides of the stage. These reflected the light of the spotlights and were super distracting, especially during serious moments. I found them hard to look away from even when I wanted to be watching a scene that was going on between characters.

Pulp | Arts Around Ann Arbor

Finally, I want to mention the amazing performance by the male lead. His character’s steady progression from confident boyfriend to unhinged psycho was amazing to watch. He did a spectacular job with this slow descent into madness and I didn’t even notice how unstable he was becoming until he started really acting insane. His solo at the end of the show had crazy vocals and he really kept up his energy through the end.

I would definitely recommend this show to anyone who likes musicals. The vocalists were amazing, the dancing was quite impressive, and the storyline had me hooked. It also gave an important message about domestic violence, and I thought the director did a great job getting this message across. Not a show for children, but I would recommend this show highly.

PREVIEW: The Wild Party

This steamy prohibition tale, following a party-to-end-all-parties, was originally set in the 1920s but has been updated to reflect a more modern, gossip girl-style show. The show is filled with jealous lovers, violence, glamour and colorful party guests, and has won several different awards for its off-Broadway run. The Wild Party also features a score written by SMTD alumnus Andrew Lippa! There is a content warning that the show is really for mature audiences, and includes profanity, drug and alcohol use, and adult situations. Additionally, it contains strobe lights. So leave your kids with the babysitter for this one.

I am excited to see this show because I have never heard of it, even when it was on Broadway, and it sounds like a lot of fun. And I love to support the SMTD program! I have missed seeing in-person theater performances, and I am eager to get back into the theater world here at U of M. The show is playing at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, which is in the League, from October 14th through October 17th.

Tickets and more information can be found here:

REVIEW: The Alpinist

This amazing documentary followed an extreme alpine climber, Marc-André Leclerc, through several different adventures of climbing as well as his own struggles and personal life. I would say this was one of those films that has you sitting awestruck at least through the credits if not longer. I was blown away by the gorgeous cinematography, the raw honesty of the filmmakers and the subjects of the documentary, and the craft honed by those who do alpine climbing.

First, the cinematography was just gorgeous. I loved that we got both very up close shots of Leclerc climbing and more birds-eye views of the different landscapes he was scaling. A big part of the appeal of the documentary for me was that it was very aesthetically pleasing. They also showed a variety of different climbs, so the audience got to see picturesque mountains from all over the world.

Film Review: The Alpinist – SLUG Magazine

The raw honesty of the filmmakers and subjects definitely drew me in right away to the story. Everyone spoke so highly of Leclerc, and was amazed by his talent, but the filmmakers were not afraid to show some of the difficulties working with him. He did disappear on them for a while, and they had to track him down through other climbers social medias in order to get back in touch with him. I think the fact that they included this in the film made him seem a lot more real, and made me much more interested in him as a person. Further, they chose such interesting people to comment on his talent, with a mix of both older, experienced climbers, people close to him, and some younger, more famous climbers. I think this array really gave viewers a better understanding of how intense and extreme his climbing really was.

The Alpinist' true story: Tragic romance meets 'Free Solo' - Los Angeles Times

Finally, this documentary honestly gave me my first ever exposure to alpine climbing and how it worked. I enjoyed the learning aspect of it, and was glad that the documentarians gave a background of how alpine climbing has progressed in the last century, because it put the talent of Leclerc into perspective for me. Also, I was shocked to actually watch him in action, and see how much faith these climbers really put into their abilities and tools. The amount of knowledge that they have and the bravery of their expeditions really blew me away. The film did a great job of limiting the amount of actual physical climbing shown to the audience, because I think a ton of clips of him just climbing could have been very boring.

I would recommend this film to anyone who likes to watch feats of human talent or anyone who enjoys beautiful landscapes. I thought this documentary was very well done, and kept me engaged and interested the whole time. Finally, I have to mention that the “twist” towards the end of the film came as a total surprise and I think the way the documentary handled it was very well done. Go see this movie!

Tickets at the State Theater:

Where to Watch 'The Alpinist' Movie

PREVIEW: The Alpinist

The Alpinist, starring extreme alpine climber Marc-André Leclerc, follows his death-defying solo adventures scaling huge mountains, with minimal equipment and a ton of raw skill. This movie has already gotten a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, after being released on September 10th. I am excited to see Leclerc’s climbing abilities, as well as the beautiful mountain landscapes he will be ascending. I also rarely get to see a documentary in a movie theater (especially recently due to Covid-19), so I am especially eager to experience this film.

The movie is currently showing at the State Theater, mostly in the late afternoons and evenings. Get tickets here!