By Carson Blackwelder | The Daily Tar Heel
Let’s do the time warp again — and again, and again.
While many have reinvented “The Rocky Horror Show,” Pauper Players provides a fresh interpretation of the musical by director Clare Shaffer.
The iconic red lips, symbolically portrayed by Maggie Poole, welcomed Saturday night’s sold-out crowd.
Accompanied by the live jazz band’s energetic score, Poole tossed condoms as an ensemble of lingerie-clad Phantoms seduced unsuspecting audience members.
Audience participation was rampant throughout the show, as onlookers were encouraged to applaud after their favorite numbers and throw props up and behind them.
With the show’s cult following, there is an inherent danger that audience members might shout lines and lyrics, and Pauper’s production fell victim to this.
But Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter, played by Quinn Matney, responded well to this, pointing in the direction of the outcry and working it into the score.
The cast milked every moment for what it was worth, and the audience responded favorably.
At his entrance, narrator Doug Pass inched across the stage, pausing at certain moments, not speaking, as he allowed time for the audience to react to his Scrooge-like stature.
The well-received comedic pauses continued, as Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter, let the word ‘anticipation’ linger, momentarily unfinished, during his notable number “Sweet Transvestite.”
Shaffer’s adaptation soared because of the Phantoms, which she incorporated as choreographed props, rather than background characters.
They morphed into Brad and Janet’s car, Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter’s ornate chair and other mansion decor.
From their life-like sound effects of a squeaking door to an oddly convincing portrayal of a bearskin rug, the Phantoms dominated in the first act.
Unlike the Phantoms’ convincing embodiment of props, the inanimate props were lackluster.
Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter’s laboratory equipment, the sonic oscillator, had the potential to wow, but was made cheaply.
All of the actors held their own vocally with the iconic songs.
Janet, played by Amberly Nardo, displayed her wide vocal range, hitting the high notes as well as the gravelly, sultry ones.
When the microphones of Eddie and Rocky malfunctioned, Pauper avoided catastrophe with the arrival of intermission, when their audio issues were resolved.
The energy of the show wavered after intermission when fun Phantom-work faded, the most popular songs passed and character development reigned.
But at curtain call, the cast revived the time warp, the audience dancing along with enthusiastic pelvic thrusts.
Originally published November 11, 2012 in The Daily Tar Heel
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