Originally written by Richard O’Brien, The Rocky Horror Show is a cult classic that promises to deliver a unique and enjoyable theatre-going experience to anyone intrigued by the idea of a quirky, campy, sci-fi horror spoof.
Should you see it?
After their car breaks down on their way to visit Dr. Everett, newly engaged couple Janet and Brad wander to a nearby mansion to call for help. There, they meet a crew of odd characters led by Frank N. Furter, the “Sweet Transvestite,” who strip them down to their underwear and lead them to Furter’s lab to show off his newest creation: Rocky, a man with blond hair and a tan good for relieving a little “tension.” The celebration of the unveiling is interrupted by Eddie, Frank N. Furter’s old lover whose brain was used to create Rocky. Wielding a black dildo, Frank N. Furter eventually manages to beat Eddie back into the Coca-Cola freezer from whence he came. And things just get weirder from there as the show evolves into a hodgepodge of sexual transgressions.
As this show is presented by Vanity Project Productions, with Tim Oberholzer as Frank N. Furter, I was confident it would be entertaining. I was not disappointed. The performances! Oh, the performances! Under the direction of Stewart Matthews, each performance was absolutely spot-on. Each actor committed fully to the portrayal of their character, creating a cohesive production that had me completely immersed the entire time. Notably, the Phantoms did an incredible job engaging the audience as soon as we were seated, interacting with audience members in various ways, such as by pelting them with popcorn and seductively blocking the path to seats.
The audience’s energy was infectious. As soon as the show began, audience members were quick to shout out the appropriate quips, heightening the comedy. Arguably, the first half of the show is the stronger, containing most of the popular, catchy numbers such as “Dammit Janet,” “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite,” and the energy of the cast seemed to wane slightly in the second half – although not surprising given that it was their second performance of the evening.
The set was essentially non-existent, save for a few pieces (a chair, a bed, some sparkly curtains) that made brief appearances. This minimalist approach was perfect for this production. Anything too extravagant would have been competing with what was occurring onstage – a visual masterpiece of dancing, lingerie and choreography.
Praise aside, the show was not without its hiccups. There were persistent technical issues with the audio equipment that got particularly bad toward the end, with Victoria Luloff’s mic cutting out during Janet’s solo in “Rose Tint My World.” In any other production, this sort of glitch may have been cringeworthy. This show, however, has so much going for it that the technical issues hardly hindered my enjoyment.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you thought. Did the catchy musical numbers have you singing along? Did you enjoy the audience participation aspects? Join the discussion and let me know in the comments below.