‘Let’s do the time warp again’ at UWF


Jeremy Cutter and Alli Bahmer, Brad and Janet, respectively, meet the Transylvanians in UWF’s shadow cast performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Darien Hardy, Staff Writer

If you got soaked by water guns simulating rain or were hit by toilet paper and toast, then you were probably at the UWF Center for Fine & Performing Arts Mainstage watching the UWF shadow cast perform the cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The show had two performances on Sep 25.

I walked into the theatre during the beginning of a costume contest that would determine the best-dressed audience member. The lucky winner received the honor of dancing in the show with the cast during the song “Time Warp.” The long line of contestants was narrowed down until a trio of Rocky’s claimed first prize. 

The house lights quickly dimmed, triggering the beginning of the program. The song “Science Fiction – Double Feature” went off without a hitch as UWF actress Madison Dixon, clad in the most colorful costume of the entire production, played the part of the iconic “lips.” 

I immediately noticed the contrast between the UWF costume choice and the 1975 film’s portrayal. The obvious choice would have been to dress the character in all black with a bold red lip, but the fact that the film does not show the person attached to the lips allows for anyone’s imagination to run rampant and come up with a unique depiction of the character. The lips dressed in all the colors of the rainbow was a creative decision that has likely never been seen before. 

The production continued with a wedding. Brad and Janet, two of the main characters from the film, were attending their mutual friends’ wedding. This scene kicks off the song “Damn It, Janet,” and makes way for the first big event of the film, Brad and Janet’s engagement. 

In the next scene, Brad and Janet are driving in a rainstorm when they suddenly get a flat tire. Meanwhile, UWF actors, Jeremy Cutter and Alli Bahmer playing their respective characters joined the audience in their “car” as the ensemble cast filled the space on either side of the audience with water guns. As the rain poured on the screen, the audience was showered with cold water, courtesy of the ensemble cast. 

Soon enough, the couple discovered the bizarre mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. They are greeted at the door by Riff Raff, a handyman played by Connor Lewis, and Magenta, a domestic played by Ileana Rendon. As Riff Raff and Magenta begin the song “Time Warp,” Brad and Janet are led to the main room where a cult-like group of Transylvanians is gathered for the “transvestite convention.” As the scene rolls on the screen, the entire cast and trio of Rocky’s from the costume contest “do the time warp” on stage. 

The dance ended with Brad, Janet and the entire audience waiting in “antici…pation” as Frank-N-Furter slowly made his entrance both on screen and on stage by UWF counterpart Michael Moser. Frank’s entrance was majestic as the elevator slowly descended and added to the dramatic effect of the scene. The Transylvanians smiled in excitement because they knew that Brad and Janet had no idea what they were about to encounter. 

Micael Moser’s Frank-N-Furter makes his entrance in UWF’s shadow cast performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

The film and the UWF adaptation argued that gender is not what someone is, rather gender is what someone does; therefore, gender is a performance. Frank-N-Furter, in both the film and the UWF play, demonstrated this idea to perfection. The brutality in his actions and his words do not detract from the love that the audience has for him. Frank is a role model that his followers see themselves in. 

Another excellent example of this from the UWF cast is the choice of actor to play Eddie, or should I say, the choice of actress. Ashley Lambros played the rock-and-roller biker in the UWF shadow cast. She emulated his rough-and-tumble exterior and seemed to demonstrate Eddie’s admiration of Columbia (played by Kylie Gilliberto) as well, even in his short appearance in the film. 

Still, Eddie’s murder by Frank-N-Furter did not diminish Frank’s hold on his followers in the film or the audience members watching the scenes play out. His strong presence held strong even through the gruesome murder and the abuse that he showed Janet throughout the show. This just goes to show that the portrayal of his gender, sexuality and reputation is the embodiment of performativity. 

The show and the use of the UWF Theatre Department’s hand-made show kits continued as toilet paper, cards, toast and confetti were thrown through the audience. This mature show, and the shadow casts’ interpretation, made for a fun night full of laughs, music, dancing and interaction. 

The UWF Theatre Department is planning to hold many more shows in the future. Curtains will open at 7:30 p.m. from Oct 29-31 and Nov 5-7 for “Shakespeare in Love.” Additionally, UWF plans to show “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in February, as well as “9 to 5” at the end of April. For more information, event details and general questions, contact the UWF Theatre Department at [email protected] or on Facebook and Instagram @uwftheatre.