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Another Saturday night, another trek to catch Rocky. Only this week sees our superhero traipse on over to River Oaks, instead of the more familiar haunt known as Southpoint. Why? Simple. This is the one year anniversary of yours truly mocking, critiquing, pointing out foibles, and otherwise laughing at the various assortment of freaks that somehow think they're making a statement by attending Rocky.
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That said, I attended Rocky, and I've got a statement: T.H.E.Y. suck.
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Part of the reason I went was to catch The Amazing Randy as well as The Equally Amazing Stephanie performing as Frank and Magenta, respectively. My own personal predilictions towards this dynamic duo aside, they stole the show ... hell, they were the show.
Now, I wouldn't be fair if I didn't elaborate on exactly how T.H.E.Y. sucked. So here's the enumaration of reasons:
Rule number one ... sitting on the stage, doing nothing, and yelling call lines IS NOT PERFORMING. It never was, never will be, and it never shall be. If I wanted to see people sitting around after paying $7.50, I'd buy a hot chocolate at Starbucks. The word lame does not do this routine justice.
Rule number two ... PERFORM THE FREAKIN MOVIE, NOT THE FREAKIN CALL LINES!!! God, that irritates the living hell out of me. I mean if you break out once or twice, its funny ... but when your whole routine is to mouth and/or lip-sync the call lines, you aren't performing in my book. To their vast credit, Randy & Steph are innocent on this count, but EVERY OTHER "PERFORMER" is guilty as sin.
Rule number three ... this is probably the BIGGEST thing I despised about the show. The audience was basically NOT ALLOWED to really get into the call lines. Being upstairs, the cast is occupying the back half of the theater, and drowning out any potential activity by the paying audience. This is a cardinal sin. At least when The Beautiful Creatures and Sadistic Pleasures did this, it was primarily from inactive cast members SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE. Bottom line folks, this is an AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION MOVIE. The audience was lame as all getout. Yet for some reason, about 50+ were in attendance.
Now that I've said my peace, I'll cover a few more specifics to this performance. Playing upstairs at River Oaks has ALWAYS been a challenge. There's simply not enough space to do Rocky up there. Yet Landmark's Midnight Movie series will generally get a pretty good draw and hence is more deserving of the main theater. That said, my first experience with TBC was in the upstairs theater, and I somehow managed to keep coming back for over a year now.
As for some of the specific actors and actresses, there was a little good and a lot of bad. The good? I'll go with what I seem to recall as being one of the many Chris' on the cast as Riff. Kinda scrawny build, tongue peircings, curly hair. He had a good look for the role and looks to be a solid performer. Naturally, he could use some better talent around him to bring out more in his performances. *cough-Southpoint-cough*
The bad? I'm afraid I'll have to go with Shannon as Janet. Its not a looks issue, its not a weight issue ... its an acting issue. She can't. She's also listed as playing Rocky and Eddie ... I genuinely fear for both roles. I only hope there's not a lot riding on a long productive acting career in this case.
Also bad ... Charles as Crim ... not only was it bad, it was rancid. Charles is the resident Uber-wannabe on this cast and he falls far far short of acheiving that level of greatness. In this role, he tried taking a few pages of Randy's playbook and took them WAY too far. I think he was in character for maybe a split second. I could buy the usage of a Hustler mag in place of the notebook, hell I strongly encouraged Steve-O to do the same thing a week earlier. But the attempt to work with the "audience" was lame. Lame because although he started working with the audience during the "neckless" call lines, it ended up interacting with inactive cast/crew ... which is in and of itself pure crap. The routine where he pretended to have a hamster up his rear ... utterly pathetic.
Even worse? The really hot chick who played Rocky. Pardon me for one paragraph while I just be a red-blooded male. Memory fails me as to the name, but this performer had a lot going for her in the looks department. Yet acting was totally void. Sword of Damacles never looked so boring. This was the definitely low end of the acting gene pool. ... but I'd still do her.
Now, a few quick blurbs about Randy & Steph. Randy does some of his best work in the closed quarters of the upstairs theater. It helps to hear him and see the detail of all that he does. Steph is an awesome foil for much of his schtick, in addition to being one hell of a Magenta in my book.
As for the ex-Creatures in attendance & on stage, I'll hold my fire. Unless I'm pushed, I beleive in playing nice (well, the harsh criticisms above notwithstanding). All in all, a welcome reminder why I haul on over to Southpoint. The ticket price difference is nothing compared to the level of amusement at a Southpoint show.
So, are there any lessons to be learned here for how NOT to perform Rocky? Why yes, there are plenty:
Let the audience be the audience, and let the performers be performers. You want people coming back? Let audience members enjoy themselves.
Performers ... PERFORM. Much like the friendly neighborhood shark, constant motion is imperative. I didn't pay to see your backside for half of the show, and I didn't pay for the privelage of you shouting all the call lines that the AUDIENCE was supposed to perform.
Lastly ... performers and cast alike: always be open and responsive to the audience. I didn't see any of this at Landmark River Oaks. There was no "Hi, nice to see you agains", or anything like that. Now granted, Jim flirting with anything even remotely female singlehandedly qualifies Southpoint on these grounds. But its a pretty vital lesson to be learned in how to have the vibe that Southpoint has vs the one that exists at Landmark River Oaks. Seeing T.H.E.M. was like going to a comedy club. You either left liking it or not, and the goal was for T.H.E.M. to get Y.O.U. to laugh and hopefully enjoy yourself. Seeing Sadistic Pleasures is closer to what I take Rocky to be: Audience Participation.
That said ... I'll see the Southpointians next week. Who knows, I might have a few tricks up my sleeve ... so don't cross me ;-)