St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Jul 15, 2009 at 4:00 am
Nerve Reviewed in this issue.

The Rocky Horror Show The much-loved counterculture musical suffers some rough treatment at the hands of director Chris Owens in this staging, which Stray Dog head hound Gary Bell has clunkily billed an "[insert name here] Theatre Project (A Stray Dog Theatre Production)." The pell-mell race through Act One makes the show feel like it's nothing more than a revue, with little or no story to tell. The entertainment value of Richard O'Brien's nigh-iconic songs would almost make such a thing acceptable, but a muddy sound mix obliterates a great deal of the lyrics and some of the music (a guitarist is visible, but rarely heard). Brad (Aaron VanderYacht) and Janet (Michelle Aubuchon) deliver a fantastic, yearning rendition of "Over at the Frankenstein Place" but disappear to stage right for the rest of the act, passive observers instead of part of the show. Frank 'n' Furter (Joshua Thomas, in a wig so bad it should receive a credit) is a puzzle, part Tim Curry-homage, part his own reading of the character. His performance of "I'm Going Home" is a very late highlight, a clearly defined and well-acted moment that can be felt as well as heard. Through July 18 at the Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue. Tickets are $15. Visit or call 314-865-1995. — Paul Friswold