Small town summer theatre has changed from the days when The Odd Couple or Hello, Dolly! were the offerings. Now one can see Mama Mia, or even The Rocky Horror Show – that’s right Rocky is now ‘safe’ enough for all. I’ve seen Rocky on stage a few times, most recently as part of the Stratford Festival. Like that one, the Stirling Festival Theatre incorporated the audience participation establish by the movie fan base. ‘It’s a step to the left.’
I loved everything about this production which successful tweaked the play a little. Some of the narrator’s dialogue was given to Sal Figliomeni drag queen Shirley Happening, who, after instantiuous costume change into Trixie, sang the opening & closing double-feature song with great energy. She also gave the audience instructions on when to participate resulting in Brad being called ‘asshole’ & Janet ‘slut.’ Is it misogyny that ‘slut’ was shouted by more people & louder than ‘asshole’?
But the gender philosophy of the play is better left to academics as we ordinary folk enjoy the dynamic singing & singing of the cast. As Frank-N-Furter dominated the stage from his first appearance I start with J.P. Baldwin’s great performance. He clearly enjoyed these songs, ripping into Wild & Untamed Thing full force. His treatment of I’m Going Home let the emotion of the song do the work, even as audience members tossed playing cards into the air.
Ryan Whittal’s Rocky (not on a slab) thanks to a funky little golden romper didn’t need a gender reveal party. The sets were simple & effective & made the show feel more like the original did when it also had little $ for production values.
The cast was excellent, energetic & many of them got to display unexpected vocal ranges, in particular Lousia O’Keane as Magenta. I loved that Dr. Scott rolled on stage with a snug Cape Breton tartan blanket tucked around his legs. Solid choreography & a tight band made this a great show.
I’d say ‘see this show’ but this was the final performance for it. If there was suggestion box I would recommend they tackle ‘Hair’ next season.