by Toni Wilson Wood
Waterloo – As a Rocky Horror virgin, having only seen bits and pieces of the film version, and knowing it had a reputation for being a perfectly terrible film, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I sure didn’t expect to have so darn much fun with this racy, silly and raunchily hilarious show. My face hurt from smiling and laughing so much during the show.
Rocky Horror Show is the story of a newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, whose car breaks down and they go to a castle to seek help or at least a telephone. Once at the castle, they discover there is some kind of convention going on. They are drawn in, reluctantly, to the seductive power of the party goers and by the sweet transvestite, Frank ‘N’ Furter, a mad scientist with some crazy sexy ideas up his sleeve, and a hot corset under his coat. As the play goes on, we meet Frank’s creation, Rocky, and we see Brad and Janet’s resolve dissolve as they give themselves over to the pleasures within the castle walls.
What is so much fun about this experience is that the fourth wall is constantly broken, by both the actors and the audience. Audience participation is a tradition with Rocky Horror and is almost a requirement. The first four rows were filled with audience members who got prop bags with their tickets. The audience throws things at certain times during the show and also yell at the actors on stage–and they respond. The audience and actors on stage feed on each other’s energy more so than in any show I have seen.
I can say without a doubt this is the best show I have seen at WCP since Greg Holt took over as artistic director. From the costumes, make-up and hair to the lights set and sound, and the actors and band, this production is as sleek and professional as it is sexy and raunchy. When I said it was an experience, I really meant it. This show involves the audience in a way that you have no choice but to give yourself over to it.
Crystal Waltz as the Narrator was a fantastic touch–especially since the Narrator is traditionally played by a man. From the top of her blonde hair slinking all the way down her red wiggle gown to her black skull stockings and heels, Waltz had the audience eating from the palm of her sensual hand. She was utterly delightful and sassy as she addressed the audience.
Cassidy Atchison as Janet and Jordan Abbe as Brad were perfectly cast. They both have clear, gorgeous voices and played the naive pair delightfully.
The gaggle of phantoms/transylvanians were fantastic, slinking around the stage, harassing Brad and Janey and gleefully doing whatever Frank ‘N’ Furter wants them to do according to his dementedly sexy plans. The whole chorus was amazing, but Russ Hamilton, with his demented smile and sparkling eyes, and Brian Langr, exuding sensuality and confidence in all the makeup and fishnets, really stood out.
Hunter Quint as Riff Raff and L.C. Kent as Magenta were perfectly cast. Their deadpan delivery was spot on and flawless and they had great energy together. Kent’s voice, in particular, was lovely.
Shelby Davis as Columbia was a bright pink haired delight. Her part wasn’t that big but she blew us away when she was around. Her solos in ‘Time Warp’ brought down the house.
Maj Kadabra Alakazam Michaels as Frank ‘N’ Furter was just divine. He was a slinky little slice of dirty Heave as the sweet transvestite. The makeup, wig, costume–he was the whole package you would expect from someone playing Frank, plus more.
Jestin Hoffman played Rocky in all his well oiled, muscled gold hot-short wearing glory, but he added such a beautiful vulnerability I wasn’t expecting.
Brian McDonald as Eddie really felt like he had come into his element in Rocky Horror versus when I saw him last in I Love a Piano at Oster Regent. Where McDonald seemed nervous and unsure previously, as Eddie, he really rocked. It’s hard to top Meatloaf, but McDonald held his own.
Jordan Makinster’s choreography was tight and well sculpted. The four piece band was unreal–they were so perfect I wasn’t sure there really was a band on stage at first. The audience minions also added a lot of fun to the show, as did the Usherette, portrayed by Sydney Miller, who opened and closed the show.
All in all, Rocky Horror Show is an experience not to be missed!