Community theatre often gets a bad rap. (I mean, have you ever seen the film Waiting for Guffman???) But, the South Bend Civic Theatre, which is located in downtown South Bend, puts on a large number of really great productions thanks to the many talented community members who perform in the shows.
Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing perhaps the South Bend Civic Theatre’s (SBCT) most risqué production ever – The Rocky Horror Show. I have awesome memories of seeing live shadow casts performing in front of movie screens playing The Rocky Horror Picture Show throughout high school and college with my best friends – so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the live musical version here in The Bend. I wasn’t sure if the SBCT had it in it to pull off this production, but the cast definitely did not disappoint.
Bob, my friend Heather, and her sixteen-year-old son Justin, started off the night by meeting for dinner at Chicory Cafe. If you haven’t been to Chicory, it’s a New Orleans-themed coffee shop and cafe at the corner of Michigan and Jefferson in downtown South Bend. They have excellent food and coffee (more on that in another post).
During dinner, Bob, Heather, and I relived some of our original Rocky Horror memories as we “shuddered with…anticipation” for the show. I think we freaked Justin out a bit with our stories since he refused to sit in the front row, which was the audience participation section, once we got to the theatre.
The SBCT has two locations – the main theatre, located on Main Street, and the much smaller Firehouse Theatre, located on Portage. Rocky Horror took place at the Firehouse Theatre, which was set up as a theatre-in-the-round for the show. There were only about 40 seats, and the front rows were told from the beginning that they would have to participate. If you don’t want to be pulled up to dance the Time Warp or have a scantily clad character sitting in your lap, I would highly recommend sitting in the back rows. I would also not recommend bringing children under the age of sixteen to the show – since it was definitely the raunchiest version of Rocky Horror we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen a lot of productions.
The small theatre and audience participation made the show fun and the director and cast added enough surprises to set this version apart from others. By the second act, Justin was having so much fun he joined Bob and me in the front row.
This is the last weekend for The Rocky Horror Show at the South Bend Civic Theatre. If you go, be sure to wear your dancing shoes to Time Warp with the audience and cast after the curtain closes.
If you’re not into Rocky Horror, the SBCT’s other productions are usually much more tame; Productions this year included Fiddler on the Roof, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Lost in Yonker’s, just to name a few.
PS – If you’re into Rocky Horror, South Bend has its very own Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast – The Hot Patooties – which performs in different locations in the region. You can find them on Facebook.