Halloween 2011: 3 Must-See Events

Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza
By: Alicia Johnson

Life sized puppets, unforgettable songs and dances, and stunts so crazy involving shadows, bikes, and fire makes this event a must see this Halloween season. BareBones Production’s Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza is right around the corner. There is no exaggeration when they say it is an “extravangza.” Hundreds of volunteers and workers come together and produce such a unique experience. This year the story is about a traveler who tinkers with death and ends up messing up his very own cycle of life. Included will be free food and drinks given away that can be enjoyed with the cast and crew. And not to mention a band will be playing afterwards. This show is meant to explore the historical side of Halloween and the cycle of death in the fall. It is very rare to find shows about Halloween that are entertaining and yet still teach the audience accurate facts. They even allow audience members to be included in a ceremony for those who have passed or people can do this more privately at sites around the area. Another great feature of this event is that it is a “pay-what-you-can” entrance fee. They suggest a $5-$20, but will not turn people away if they cannot pay. The Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza is appropriate for all ages and it is being showed 5 times over the last 2 weekends in October, but with the average audience being over 1,000 the last weekend, it is encouraged to go October 22nd or 23rd to ensure people get a spectacular view of the whole production. Check out their website more information.

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Rocky Horror Live!
By: Alex Lauer

I don’t know anyone who thinks Rocky Horror is “ok.” Either you don’t get it or you’re obsessed with it. The good thing is that you don’t have to even know what Rocky Horror is to enjoy the live version being put on at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis.

Just to clarify, this is not The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie that has become a cult-favorite and plays at midnight screenings across the country. This is the live stage version that actually came before Tim Curry’s reign. This reincarnation features a group of eccentric local and out-of-state talent, with the big name being Don Shelby, who plays The Narrator. Yes, the former WCCO news anchor. When I heard this casting, I did an eye-roll AND an exaggerated sigh. This was obviously done just to get people in the seats. Honestly though, he was the biggest surprise. He opens the show with an out-of-character monologue that is unexpectedly clever and well-delivered. It definitely warms up the crowd.

For people unfamiliar with the Rocky cult, it gets rowdy. During the film version, fans have developed commentary that they yell at the screen in response to the characters, and this has carried over to the stage. So when Brad Majors introduces himself, don’t be surprised if you hear multiple people yell, “ASSHOLE!” That’s normal.

Highlights:

-The Lab Theater is the best theater in Minneapolis. It’s basically a warehouse where the stage is on the same level as the seats, so expect them getting up close and personal.
-Andre Shoals as Dr. Frank-n-Furter
-Molly Callinan as Magenta
-The costume contest held during intermission.

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Soap Factory Haunted Basement Review
By: Lindsey Geyer

I feel as though I should be truthful to you upfront.  I scare easily.  Very easily.  With that said, the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement is frightening, don’t get me wrong, but it did not have me screaming the safe word.  You are told to NEVER let go of the rope, otherwise you will be sucked into a vortex of haunted rooms and dim hallways with flickering lights, and never return.  To be separated from your group is the worst thing that could happen, and the creatures inevitably lurking down the dark stairwell WILL touch you. That is why you have to sign the waver.  The actors were dedicated and the costumes and sets were unquestionably fantastic.  You stumble through a maze of different situations and sets, all creepy and quite disturbing in their own right (I’m not sure if masturbating to fluffy stuffed animals is scary but it sure was one of the more disturbing environments of terror), and while attempting to follow the rules given to you at the beginning, they suddenly become impossible to adhere to.  The rope abruptly disappears, and the climax of the night comes when you are bombarded with screams to “face the wall and put your hands above your head” while simultaneously having your eyes and face covered with a blinding mask to avoid all possible vision. I refuse to ruin the surprise, but I will say that everyone rose to the surface at different times, and everyone had a different experience.