The Rocky Horror Showtesttest
Every generation has its rites of passage, not to be confused with steps up on the ladder of maturity. For 40 years, seeing and participating in The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been one of those rites. Part of the rite is dressing up. Part is talking back. Part is making rain with water pistols and tossing bread crusts every which way. Not least is doing The Time Warp.
Can the live Rocky Horror Show compete with the screen version?
The Horror Show now being staged at Anne Arundel Community College can. It’s a fun and raunchy romp through Transsexual, Transylvania, led by that Sweet Transvestite and hottie host Frank’n’Furter (Peter N. Crews) and a cast of singin’ and dancin’ Sycophants. As in any good story, the main characters Brad (Greg Baron) and Janet (Megan Morse Jans) find themselves out of their element — on a rainy night, with a flat tire and no place to go but the crazy castle, aka the Frankenstein Place. The couple is as sensual as pencils, unaccustomed to pleasure of any sort.
The evening changes that, and we, the audience, are the beneficiaries, so long as what we seek is an excuse to cut loose. Unlike the screen version, the live rendition throbs with the pulse of all involved.
Almost everything works well in this staging of the cult classic, written by Richard O’Brien and originally staged in London in 1973. Lars Tatom’s direction, Douglas Brandt Byerly’s music direction and Tommy Parlon’s choreography are seamless. Costumes and makeup are appropriately staid or sleazy, depending on the character.
The roles feel properly cast, especially Crews, Baron and Jans. Riff Raff (Isaac Simonaire), Magenta (Carlie Kidd), Columbia (Emma Bedlin), Dr. Scott (Jerry Vess) and Eddie (Erik W. Alexis) fit supporting roles. Rocky (Jacques Snyman) nails his part in terms of physique and, like his counterpart in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tale, comes across as intelligent. The Narrator (Jessica Long) is a stitch, as is her German accent.
Live music is one of the show’s strengths but also its weakness. The band out-competes vocals. The issue seems to be mic’ing and sound mixing.
Sound problems did not stop the audience from dancing The Time Warp.
Anne Arundel Community College’s rendition of Rocky Horror is easy on the eyes, easy on the ears and gets people pumped. You don’t have to submit to any Frankensteinian experiments. You just have to show up.
Directing & costumes: Lars Tatom. Set: Sean Urbantke. Lighting: Peter Kaiser. Makeup and hair design: Rob Berry. Stage manager: Kelly Hoffman. Sound: Sarah Bierc. Music direction and band: Douglas Brandt Byerly with Nick Zurowski, Alex Barnett, Michael Busch, Lindsay Hammond, Matt Henry and Scott Tabor.
Playing thru April 21 at 8pm ThFSa & 11pm Fri. April 20, at Kauffman Theater, Pascal Center, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold. rsvp: $20 w/discounts: 410-777-2457; www.aacc.edu/performingarts.