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A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been one of William Shakespeare’s most accessible works. It tells the story of four lovers lost in an enchanted wood while being pranked by the fairies that live there. [Read more…]
Adapted from the movie of the same name, and based upon the play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan,” “Finding Neverland” tells the story of playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to write a new play. [Read more…]
By Andy Haynes
The Red Fish Theatre company with their partners at AntiGravity Orlando have created a production of the Rocky Horror Show that defies expectations.
Before I go any further, I need to emphasize that this show is definitely “adults only.” The language and themes of the Rocky Horror Show are not appropriate for children, but that shouldn’t stop those of appropriate ages from enjoying this wonderful production.
Presented at the AntiGravity Orlando theater on Highway 192, the production ramps up the classic musical through the integration of Cirque Du Soleil style acrobatics. “The cast is a blend of AntiGravity aerialists, local theme park performers and local theater professionals,” said Red Fish Theatre’s artistic director Adam Graham. “Together we’re taking a traditional classic and letting our audience view it from new, different angle. Sometimes quite literally.” And he certainly isn’t wrong.
During any given number, performers might be spinning on wheels, leaping off trampolines or flying through the air above you. The stunt work in the show was breathtaking and apparently performed by professionals who teach the same acrobatics during the day at the facility. I was worried that the stunts would feel “tacked-on” but, in the crazy world of Doctor Frank-N-Furter, they fit right in and added to the show. The rest of the cast were equally talented in their singing and acting abilities.
Working in theme parks means artists don’t typically get to show their full range, so when an opportunity comes to see them really open up, it’s worth taking. Unfortunately, the production I saw was marred by some technical issues with some of the microphones going in and out, which was especially disappointing considering that when we did hear the performers they were amazing across the board. These issues can be chalked up to the growing pains of a venue putting on a production like this for the first time.
This show appears to be a sign of things to come for AntiGravity as they look to begin incorporating more theatrical style productions into their future. With a prime location in the tourist district of Kissimmee, the AntiGravity theater could be just the thing to bridge the gap between tourist attraction and classic theater. By combining the spectacle of stunt work and aerial performers with traditional stage productions, they might have found a winning formula. With more productions in talks for the future, hopefully this new theatrical outlet is here to stay.
The Rocky Horror Show has a final performance Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit redfishtheatreantigravity.ticketleap.com.
By Andy Haynes
Catharsis is an all new immersive haunted experience currently unsettling guests in the Orlando area. The experience was created by Pseudonym Productions, the company who brought us “When Shadows Fall,” and indeed, takes place in the same venue. Without giving too much away, there are even some references to the story of When Shadows Fall throughout Catharsis.
Catharsis bills itself as “unlike anything Florida as ever encountered” and for me at least, that was definitely true. It’s hard to talk too much about it without giving away any spoilers, since not knowing exactly what to expect is the crux of the experience.
After we arrived at the venue and signed in, we found our way to the deadly sins bar to enjoy a drink and sign a wavier. We were then summoned to the back and our trip through Catharsis began. The whole experience from arrival at the venue to unceremonious departure lasts about an hour, after which you are asked to leave immediately. This makes sense due to the attraction’s fast turnaround and the limited parking available at the venue.
Without going into detail, the experience itself involved a lot of uncomfortable situations and invasion of personal space all of which served to underline the unsettling nature of Catharsis. There is a story that underscores the event although on our trip through we were a bit confused about exactly what it was and left wondering if we had missed something. It was ultimately unnecessary though as the individual moments in Catharsis are what made the experience unique. Again, I don’t want to spoil it, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten quite that up close and personal with actors as I did at Catharsis!
Due to its location and immersive features, Catharsis will definitely draw some comparisons to When Shadows Fall. Although similar, the two events had very striking differences. The open-ended freedom to explore that was offered in When Shadows Fall doesn’t show up in Catharsis, as you are led by the hand (sometimes quite literally) through the structured environment. This leads to a loss of control by the audience and actually allowed greater enjoyment by those seeking a more passive experience. That’s not to say you won’t be moving around and getting your hands dirty, but just that most of the active decision making that defined When Shadows Fall is absent from Catharsis. Another unique feature of the attraction is the ability to go through in small groups or even alone. This is in sharp contrast to the conga line style of Halloween Horror Nights and the free-for-all feel of When Shadows Fall. I do have to compliment the designers on this, as at no time throughout the experience was did I feel the presence of other audience members beyond my group. The whole event felt very personal and isolating.
In the end, I will say I enjoyed Catharsis. I would recommend this for someone looking for a more immersive experience and something different from the jump scares of a traditional haunted house. I think experiencing it alone is definitely the way to go since having less people in the group heightened the attraction. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to be pushed outside of your comfort zone!
Catharsis runs select nights through Oct. 30. Tickets are $24 for standard entry and $34 for the private experience. For more information or to make a reservation, visit fearcatharsis.com.