by Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
For the twenty-third time, UMass Dartmouth’s 20 Cent Fiction theatre group came together to give us their yearly rendition of the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
From the very first moment to the very last, I was caught in a wild and campy trance, and I simply couldn’t take my eyes off the stage.
The show marks director Nick Edwards’s twentieth overall production with the company, his tenth time being involved in RHPS, and his second time directing RHPS.
Because the cast was led by such an experienced leader, the entire show seemed to go off perfectly.
Following an 8 p.m. and a midnight showing, I must admit I expected to see a cast that was a tad drained during their third performance.
However, what I got was a show that packed as much punch as an opening night on Broadway.
While I certainly give the cast and crew a ton of credit, I believe the energy levels can be attributed to having a veteran director Edwards calling the shots.
When I asked Edwards about what he enjoyed most about directing RHPS his eyes lit up and he said, “It’s the passion with which those who audition and star-in come with, RHPS is such a weird and campy show, and it inspires people to test their boundaries and out do what they think they can in order to put the show on.”
Watching the show and his cast perform, that passion became evident through each actor’s portrayal of their characters.
Senior Gabriella Barthe led the way as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, and I dare say she won the hearts of everyone in the audience.
Through the entire show she never missed a beat or a step, and it looked as if she had played the role in 1,000 productions before this one. This is Barthe’s first lead role in a theatre production.
I pressed Barthe about what it was like being the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter and she said, “I walk around feeling like I own the place, which is not something I normally do. I strut through the auditorium and for a moment in time everyone’s eyes are on me for something that isn’t negative.”
While Barthe delivered a fantastic performance as the lead, sophomore Johnny Perreira put on a great show as 20 Cent Fiction’s first male to play the role of Janet.
Perreira was marvelous as the classic heroine, nailing every look and movement as well as anyone ever could have.
He also brought the same fierce energy as his peers which made him extremely fun to watch on stage.
Perreira described how difficult it was to cultivate an extremely feminine air about him, going out of his way to truly become his character for the role.
“I decided after the show last year that I wanted to be Janet, I practiced a lot and watched the audition scene a hundred times. Then the day of the audition I had a friend do my make-up, including boob contour, and I did my audition in a bra and a slip. I told Nick I want this and that night I got the call that I would be Janet.”
When hearing stories like Perreira’s and Barthe’s, it’s easy to understand what Edwards meant about passion.
The entire cast, from the raucous Transylvanians scream-ing at the actors from the audience, to the actors on stage themselves, all carried so much passion and zest for the show.
Everyone involved should be extremely proud of the show and how it came out.
I can honestly say that it was my pleasure to be able to say that I saw 20 Cent’s 2016 production of RHPS.
I was not alone either as sophomore Michaela Gates raved, saying, “It was so much fun just to be in the audience, I saw RHPS last year and I am so happy I went back this year to see it again!”
Junior Ryan Gulley said, “It was my first time as RHPS and this show made me feel silly for not going the past two years I have been at this school, I had a blast.”
I cannot say enough about how great this show was.
If you missed this year’s performance, 20 Cent will be performing it again next year during the week of Halloween.
Until then, you can catch 20 Cent Fiction again this December in their performance of Debts to the Devil!
Written and directed by UMass Dartmouth student Bill Hanley, the show is sure to thrill.
More information will be posted closer to the event, and posters will be going up in academic buildings around campus.