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Review: The Rocky Horror Show (Gallery included)

Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.

By Vanessa Di Feo

The 2014-2015 season at the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) has finally begun! And what a start it has had – kicking off the season is Richard O’Brien’s cult classic, The Rocky Horror Show, directed by Kelly Straughan.

This musical follows Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, a newly engaged couple that stumbles upon the home of Frank ‘N’ Furter, a mad scientist from “Transexual Transylvania,” on a very special night – the welcoming of his latest creation, the muscular, attractive Rocky Horror.

After seeing this “humorous tribute to science fiction and Horror B movies of the late 1940s until the late 1970s,” I can say, without a doubt, that this is a party that you do not want to miss.

Even before the actual performance begins, the audience is entertained: several cast members – the Phantoms – are dressed in slinky lingerie and fishnets, and physically flirt with and tease audience members.

When I attended the show, they had everyone in the room roaring with laughter, and sitting on the edge of their seats with anticipation, and really set the tone for the rest of the show.

Overall, the STC’s interpretation of this internationally renowned musical is the best I have ever seen (and I am no Rocky “virgin”), and does justice to its famous tunes, such as “The Time Warp.”

Technically speaking, the set is highly elaborate, with navy blue tiled walls, extravagant frames, candles, vintage inspired lighting, and great depth.

It literally looks like a mad scientist’s lab (with a dash of sexiness and glamour, not to mention hot pink neon lights and “television screens”).

Moreover, the costumes are extremely risky, attention grabbing, and flamboyant. For example, the phantoms usually wear nothing but leather jackets, skimpy underwear, and fishnets, while Trixie wears a skimpy suit jacket that only covers her nipples, and, at the end of the musical, the entire cast appears in fishnets and corsets.

Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.

Evidently, this is a change of pace for the typical conservative costuming at the STC and around town. Still, it works – the show itself is bawdy and extremely sexual, so this risqué costuming is a demonstration of the cast members’ commitment to their roles!

In terms of the performance itself, the cast is extremely high energy – it is clear that they are “in the zone” and having the time of their lives while onstage.

While the acting, on a whole, is brilliant, and the singing is also generally strong, there are a few standout performances. The first is David Lopez’s depiction of Frank ‘N’ Furter.

Lopez, who, according to the Sudbury Star, “gives [Tim Curry] a run for his money,” displays incredible stage presence and energy, and gives Frank ‘N’ Further a perfect balance of dominance and glamour; furthermore, his vocals are superb.

Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.

Erica Peck delivers a strong, humorous, and almost supernatural performance as Magenta: she does the widely loved role justice with her enormous movements, animated facial expressions, and powerful stage presence.

Finally, seasoned actor Brian McKay is very strong as The Narrator.

Interestingly, this role is usually portrayed as “boring” (don’t mind the pun, Rocky Horror lovers); however, McKay gives The Narrator dimension by reacting to audience call outs and adding sarcasm to his lines. Additionally, although he gets quite a few “call-outs,” he is able to continue his performance seamlessly – this is commendable, as “call-outs” have the potential to seriously hurt a performance!

Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.

As always, the STC hired professional musicians – including Laurentian graduate Jordan McNeil – to form a pit band and accompany the performers. Led by Scott Christian, the pit band is sublime – it is hard to believe that the music is being performed live, as it sounds like a recording.

Evidently, the STC’s highly polished production of The Rocky Horror Show is a hit, not to mention a true testament to the talent and hard work of Kelly Straughan, Scott Christian, choreographer Melissa-Jane Shaw, and the entire cast and crew.

Catch The Rocky Horror Show as soon as possible – you have until October 18th, and seats are running out quickly!

Also, don’t forget about the late night performances being held on October 9th and 17th at 10 p.m., where you can even buy a “kit” for $5 at the door!

Laurentian University students are eligible for a special discount price.

This is to say that students can buy their tickets for $18.21, instead of the average ticket price of $26.64. To get this price, book your tickets online on the Sudbury Theatre Centre website, with the promotion code “RockyLU”. Keep in mind that you cannot get this price at the door or through the box office!

For more information, visit www.sudburytheatrecentre.ca.

Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.
Photo of the Rocky Horror production, by Rob Provencher.