‘The Rocky Horror Show’ releases audience tension
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The Rocky Horror Show is a cult musical involving rock music, science fiction parodies, and sex-crazed cross-dressing aliens. It may sound like a weird time for some—and it is—yet thousands of people gather every year to see the show, dress up in costumes, shout callback lines to the characters, and throw props all around to enhance the experience. It’s a phenomenon that’s been going on for over 35 years and it shows no signs of stopping.
The show is best known by its 1975 film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon. However, it was originally a play by the name of The Rocky Horror Show.
Such was the production I saw at the Jericho Arts Centre. I’m a big fan of the movie and have seen it several times, but I’d never seen it live before.
The venue has no official raised stage—there’s just a flat, open area where the actors perform. This allows for a good degree of intimacy, which works well for the play because many would say the audience participation is just as fun as the play itself. Whether it’s the characters giving sass to the audience or the confetti being tossed during the celebration, it really engages you in the zaniness that is Rocky Horror.
The play’s plot is just as bizarre as the antics around it. A newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, go to visit a former teacher when their car breaks down. They travel to a castle for help, and it turns out to be the home of Dr. Frank N. Furter, a sex-crazed “sweet transvestite,” and his equally creepy servants. Frank has just created a perfect man, the titular Rocky Horror, and the very square Brad and Janet soon become trapped in Frank’s crazy plans.
The cast itself was very good. Although the usual question of “Can they act/sing?” was in my head while watching, I was more entertained by their understanding of what Rocky Horror is. The actors regularly broke the fourth wall by replying to the audience’s many callback lines—often with even wittier responses.
From the program, I learned that most of the actors had been in productions of Rocky Horror before, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. It’s definitely a hard musical to put on because the cast has to be very comfortable and free-spirited. There’s a lot of high energy and high demand in each role—even the background cast was constantly dancing and switching around in every scene.
If you’ve never heard of or seen Rocky Horror, you may be quite confused by this production. Most of the audience had obviously at least seen the movie at home. However, if you’re comfortable with not really knowing what’s going on in the story, possibly being rested on by a cast member between scenes, and/or you’re already a Rocky Horror fan, it’s definitely a night to remember.