By SCOTT FEINBLATT
Starring Emma Hunton, Frankie Grande and Brian Logan Dales
Directed by Chadd McMillan and Alli Miller-Fisher
Book, music and lyrics by Michael Shaw-Fisher
Orgasmico Theatre Company
EXORCISTIC is a bawdy, horror, musical triumph. From its humble origins as part of the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it won Best Musical, it has come back to life to haunt Hollywood’s Three Clubs in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Exorcist. Currently, the show is slated to continue until Sept. 16, with a run in New York to follow beginning October 19 at Manhattan’s The Box. This reviewer caught the show last weekend, and it is a diabolical joy!
Starting with the small space of around 50 seats, it was clear that the show would be intimate. EXORCISTIC begins with the interactions of the cast as themselves and as members of the crew (which some actually are), discussing the Exorcist adaptation they were about to produce. Gradually, this dynamic gives way to the players disappearing into their roles.
The costuming and make-up aid in this transformation, and but for the various moments of the show in which the narrative is halted for humorous “anatomy of a scene” segments, the players remain in their Exorcist characters for the duration of the performance.
The narrative is appropriately irreverent and hysterically hypersexualized. The heavy influence of The Rocky Horror Picture Show can be felt throughout, but it does not eclipse the uniqueness of the production. Throughout the show, the demon Captain Rowdy hovers near the Regan character (named “Megan” in the show and played by performer/producer Emma Hunton). Captain Rowdy, personified by a flamboyant man in shiny red lipstick and little devil horns (portrayed by Mitchell Johnson in the production I saw), routinely engages in synchronized sexual gyrations with Megan, beginning with the song “Howdy Captain Rowdy,” in which he encourages her to lift her spirits by placing her hand in her pants and going “round and around and around and around…”
Overall, the songs are very entertaining, and several are particularly catchy. Beyond the cheeky lyrics and powerhouse score, the numbers provide the talented cast with opportunities to showcase their singing chops. There is also an exciting and eclectic dynamic in the structure of the songs; One of the songs even has a humorous hip-hop arrangement.
Naturally, the show pays homage to iconic moments from the film with delightful parodies and highly imaginative recreations. The producers obviously have a lot of love for the source material, and their raunchy riffs on the characters and scenarios both honor the spirit of the film and create a memorable tribute to it.
If you love the film, immersive theatrical experiences and deliriously sexy musical comedies, you will definitely enjoy this show. Catch it in L.A. or when it opens in New York.