Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Rocky Horror Show"

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note: entire contents copyright 2008 by John Small

"The Rocky Horror Show"

book, music, and lyrics by Richard O'Brien
directed by Eric Dwinnells
music direction by Rick Scalise
choreographed by Julie Dauber
stage management by Jessica Hueras

Dr. Frank-N-Furter ... Michael Letch
Brad Majors ... Matthew Bartlett
Janet Weiss ... Jess Andra
Riff Raff ... Brian Toney
Magenta ... Shonna McEachern
Columbia ... Andrea Wyrwas
Rocky ... Andrew Hicks
Eddie ... E.J. Wood
Dr. Scott ... Ray O'Hare
The Narrator ... Kate Parker
Phantoms ... Michael Dellacava, Mikey DiLoreto, Allison Nichols, Danielle Pirone

Rick Scalise
Willie Conrad
Andrew Benson
Seth Botos

On Saturday, October 25, 2008, my wife Mary and I enjoyed the immense pleasure of attending Loki Arts' production of Richard O'Brien's stupendously hilarious musical comedy classic, The Rocky Horror Show!

Before I continue, I feel I should present my "Rocky Horror Credentials". The stage musical version of The Rocky Horror Show is probably more widely known in its incarnation as the cinematic cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, which premiered in movie theaters thirty-three years ago, in 1975. While I was an undergraduate at M.I.T. in the 1970s, I enjoyed going with friends to the long-gone Exeter Street Theater in Boston to experience their regularly-scheduled midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show -- in costume, of course.

Given that history, I count myself a bit of a Rocky Horror aficionado. And I say now, without the slightest hesitation, that Loki Arts' production of The Rocky Horror Show captures and surpasses the sheer entertainment pleasure of those midnight screenings so long ago.

I would collapse from writer's cramp were I to attempt to do Loki Arts' production of The Rocky Horror Show justice in mere words. Suffice it to say that I haven't laughed as hard and as loud in a long, long time as I did at tonight's performance!

If you're familiar with the movie and theatrical versions of the show that include the narrator character called "The Criminologist", you're in for a special surprise - Loki Arts' production replaces the pompous male Criminologist with Kate Parker's sultry gothic Narrator, who warms up the crowd with her steamy solo number that I won't give away here! Shonna McEachern did deliriously delightful double-duty as both the lasciviously sexy Magenta and the Usherette who opened and closed the show with a demure pin-up girl performance of the song "Science Fiction Double Feature". Matthew Bartlett and Jess Andra as Brad and Janet charmed us all with their hilariously seamless transmogrification from straight-laced boy-and-girl-next-door into lustfully writhing omnisexuals. Brian Toney's Riff Raff had me shaking with laughter before he even opened his mouth - his facial expressions alone are worth the price of admission. Andrea Wyrwas' Columbia is a perky little spitfire of raunchy desire. Michael Letch's Dr. Frank-N-Furter is a transvestite masterpiece of polysexual eroticism and side-splitting hilarity! Andrew Hicks' performance as the creature, Rocky, is the perfect blend of heartwarming masculinity and leather. E. J. Wood's single scene as Eddie is a show-stopping volcano of rock and roll nostalgia. Ray O'Hare's Doctor Scott is a brilliantly executed homage to a certain other "Doctor" immortalized in film by the late great Peter Sellars. Mike Dellacava, Mikey DiLoreto, Allison Nichols, and Danielle Pirone were spectacular as the erotically-energetic Phantoms. And the band members, Rick Scalise, Willie Conrad, Andrew Benson, and Seth Botos blew the roof off the place with their own version of Dr. Frank-N-Furter's "Sonic Transducer".

Director Eric Dwinnells, Music Director Rick Scalise, Choreographer Julie Dauber, and Stage Manager Jessica Hueras all deserve to be congratulated many times over for Loki Arts' production of The Rocky Horror Show, a truly pleasurable evening of theater. Don't dream it -- SEE IT !!

John Small
Concord, Massachusetts

"The Rocky Horror Show" (24 October 1 November)
@ Arlinton Center for The Arts, 41 Foster Street, ARLINGTON MA

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