Theatre Review: It’s Just a Jump to the Left

review

Note: This review was posted on the KC Stage review system.

The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show, written by Joe Blevins, directed by Steven Eubank. Produced by Egads! Theatre Company (part of the KC Fringe Festival). First produced 1996. (Seen July 24, 2011.)

Rule 34 of the internet: if you can imagine it, there is porn of it. Addendum: if you’ve thought of it, there’s most likely fan fiction of it.

Filker Tom Smith, written long enough ago that the special guest is Mikhail Gorbachev, wrote The Rocky Horror Muppet Show, which took the idea of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and crossed it over with the Muppets. (You can read the whole script at http://www.tomsmithonline.com/comedy/rhms.htm.) And Eubank himself states in the program of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show that it was ‘yoinked from Joe Blevins online circa 1996’, so he readily admits this is not an original concept. In fact, right after said note, there’s another note that states, “We hope you think this show is as stupid and entertaining as we do.”

From the cartoon preshow music to the kazoo choir of the opening theme of Rocky Horror that turns into “Animated Cartoon Feature”, there is plenty of humor in this latest outing from Steven Eubank and Egads! Theatre. The topical humor, with Bill Pelletier (stealing the show every time he comes on stage as the Narrator) making cracks about Katie Horner and someone else (I can’t remember) making a Michele Bachmann joke, are the best pieces. There’s even a joke as Katie Kalahurka (playing both Canadia – i.e., Columbia/Nell Fenwick — and Sharmie — i.e., Sherman/Eddie) storming off as Canadia after the evening meal is ‘introduced’, states “I’m telling Equity” as she goes.

The actors are obviously having a ball, from Doogin Brown (in his second Fringe show and someone I am now officially a fan of — does this man not sleep?) as the Bullwinkle/Brad combo and Rachel Pallente as the Rocky/Janet combo having way too much fun in their respective roles as our heroes. A shout out to Samn Wright, who I last saw in Egads! Evil Dead as Ash (there’s even a callback groaner of a joke about it) who just seems to exude charisma in playing the Dudley Do-right/Rocky part. Another one I am going to be keeping my eye out for.

The “Toon Warp” and the “Animated Cartoon Feature” are the best songs/parodies, making the most of the odd mash up and just going to town with it.

However, I was in the house left part of the audience, and the show played a little too much center, making me feel like I missed a lot of the show and that I was just eavesdropping on the show. Also, being house left, I was right next to the backstage band, which means I had a hard time hearing the actors a lot of the times.

The show is clever, but the joke plays on a little too long and gets old quick. The second act especially seemed to just go on (“The Floor Wax Show” was easily the weakest of the songs, and could have easily been cut or truncated, as it just doesn’t seem to work).

I almost bowed out of going to the Egads! show this Fringe. After all, Eubank already has a strong following, and my review is not going to make or break it, and there are others who will rate and/or review it on KC Stage. But when I saw the title, I was hooked and had to see this crossover. I think if the show was 60 minutes instead of 90, cutting down some of the songs, and if blocking was more devoted to the thrust style approach of the Off Center Theatre space, it would’ve been an outstanding show. In the meantime, as it is, it’s a great show. But head’s up if you want to see it, make sure you get there very early (I showed up 20 minutes before curtain) in order to get a good seat in the center section.

The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show has four more performances this Fringe, and tickets are $10. For more information, visit the KC Fringe Festival website.

Read all of my Fringe reviews here