The Rocky Horror Show, a British musical by Richard OBrien that became the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, returns to its roots onstage with all the craziness intact.
Movie viewers have gone to midnight movies in costume and thrown items at the screen for more than three decades. Now this generation has the chance to really interact with the wild and crazy characters live and up close.
The small theater at Unity is an intimate venue for all the literally intimate goings-on as actors step off the stage and the audience reacts, provided with props that mimic some of the action. Members of the fine live band in the corner of the theater also shout out comments and observations to the actors. The tone of the show begins with huge red lips projected on a screen with the request to turn off all cell phones and any other vibratory devices.
The story, a parody of B horror and science fiction movies, tells of Janet and Brad, a naïve young couple who suffer a flat tire in the rain and stumble upon The Frankenstein Place, which Janet assumes is a hunting lodge for rich weirdos.
Not exactly. Its the headquarters for mad scientist Frank N Furter, a bisexual transvestite who is creating the perfect man. Frank is a gender bender, not just for himself, but for his entourage, whose members call him master. It turns out that they are all from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania. Frank N Furters sidekick servants Riff Raff and Magenta appear subservient, but they have a hidden agenda.
Danielle Dutro directs the well-chosen cast. Erik Austin, in corset and garter belt, struts and poses, emotes and seduces as Frank N Furter. Hes having a grand time, and the audience loves it. Travis Nefores is another crowd pleaser as Rocky. Rocky is not a monster, but a well-built sexually confused creation. Nefores is an actor and dancer who has been seen in many area shows, but we have never seen as much of him as here, as the scantily clad Rocky. He has a good sense of comic timing as he spreads his sexuality around.
Ali Peters plays Janet, the shocked and later transformed girl who stumbles into the raunchy scene with her boyfriend, Brad. Shes cute and funny and has a fine voice. C.J. Gormley is good as Brad. Wearing a plaid suit in the beginning, he ends up in sexy lingerie. Mark Rohner is perfectly cast as Riff Raff, tall, blond and slightly surreal, and Taylor Peters is excellent as Magenta. Karyn Blaney is good as Columbia, Franks devoted follower. Shes a good dancer and singer.
Michael McKinney plays three roles well. Hes the narrator, in smoking jacket and cigarettes, the ill-fated Eddie, who becomes part of Rocky, and Dr. Scott, who enters the scene as the story wraps up.
The ensemble members, called Phantoms, all fine singers and dancers, are Clara Fulks, Benjamin King, Katie Matten and Marissa Purcell.
There are 15 rousing, rocking song-and- dance numbers, with some athletic and acrobatic moments. Lacey McNamara is musical director and also plays keyboards in the band. Other band members are Wayne Gamble on guitar, Sky Murphy on tenor sax, Mitch Houseman on bass and Cheryl Post on drums. They rock. Zach Johnson is choreographer.
The colorful, sexy costumes by Keith Wetzel are a vital element. (Where did he find all those garter belts?) When Janet and Brad first strip to their undies, the difference between underwear and lingerie becomes obvious.
Needless to say, this is an adults-only entertainment, and IDs are required at the doorno one under 18 without parent or guardian. Most of the jokes are sex-related, and there are a couple of rather explicit sex scenes in silhouette behind a screen as Frank goes both ways with Janet and Brad in what are their first real experiences from the master.
Kelrik Productions is best known for its family-friendly kids shows. This is the flip side, part of a series of productions aimed at adults.