note: entire contents copyright 2011 by Sheila Barth
Sticking closely to the 1975 hit movie and 1970‘s British rock musical play spoof about B-movie horror and science fiction films of the late 1940s-1970s, Oberon and the Gold Dust Orphans, starring the outrageous Gold Dust Orphans’ founder-fearless cross-dressing leader, Ryan Landry, explodes all around the audience in a non-stop, live, multimedia, weird way. The show is a take-off of midnight movies with audience participation and involvement. With this group, hilarity and wackiness reign supreme.
The show started slowly on opening night last Friday, with swirling, bright-colored lights (provided by designer Justin Paice), with three cross-dressed, wigged, bulging bicep dancers in designer Scott Martino’s glittery fringed dresses, who, from raised platforms, gyrate and gesture to patrons. Suddenly, the place blasts into a wild frenzy.
The Future Starlets, six-piece band at stage left, strikes up with a big sound, as the screen in the center of the stage flashes images of classic hit horror and science fiction movies. Wearing huge eyeglasses, narrator Bill York, with his hyped-up radio voice and loud, evil laugh, relates the night’s monstrously freaky goings-on.
To Rocky Horror followers’ delight, the band is fantastic throughout the show, blaring hits, including the musical’s signature song, “Time Warp,” “Sweet Transvestite,” “Damn It, Janet,” “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” ”I Can Make You a Man,” and others.
A ghoulish group garbed in funereal weeds, carrying a black coffin with white flowers, wend their way through the crowd as the band plays on.
The outlandishly talented Ryan Landry is Dr. Frank’n’Furter, who says he’s a sweet transvestite, but is an evil, perverted scientist. Landry sings, struts, dances among the standing and seated crowds, occasionally poking an unsuspecting patron in the ribs, while cast members cavort and climb among the audience, eyeballing individuals, hovering above, beyond and nearby. As the crowd concentrates on the screen that’s flashing classic movie clips, stills, and the RKO movie production larger-than-life logo, the creepy ghouls and young innocents enact the story of recently-engaged, clean-cut couple, Janet Weiss (Kayla Foster) and Brad Majors (Gene Dante), whose car breaks down in a wooded area, while they’re out celebrating their engagement. They seek help in a nearby castle, where Frank’n’Furter drags them in, inviting them to his Transvestite Convention. Frank, magnificently dressed in glittery gold corsetiere, feathered black cape and headdress, welcomes them, while his Igor-ish monster servant, Riff Raff (Tad McKitterick), and Riff Raff’s buxom, oversexed sister, Magenta (Laine Binder), stand ready to do Frank’s bidding. A pretty young thing, blonde tap-dancing groupie, Columbia (Darcie Champagne), adds sparkle to the festivities.
In his laboratory, Frank’n’Furter unveils his creation, calling it the secret of life - the perfectly-formed, gorgeous Rocky Horror, (James Cerne), who emerges from his birth tank wearing only a glittering silver thong.
True to O’Brien’s madcap madness, things go amok.
Wheelchair-bound Dr. Scott (Timothy Lawton), Janet and Brad’s former high school science teacher and Frank’n’Furter’s enemy, comes to the castle looking for his missing nephew, Eddie (also Lawton), a mild-mannered delivery boy. Eddie shows up later in a fiendishly altered state.
Perhaps “The Rocky Horror Show” isn’t for everybody, but even conservative patrons get caught up in the play’s showiness and zaniness.
If you go, do yourself a favor, though. Remember, this show abounds with bawdy, raunchy humor and goings-on, so heed the warning. Leave the kids at home, then go and have a helluva time.
BOX INFO: Live, multimedia production of Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show,” presented by Oberon and the Gold Dust Orphans, directed by James P. Byrne, appearing now through Dec. 2, every Friday night at 10:30 p.m. at Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Patrons must be at least 18 years old to enter and over 21 with valid ID to drink alcohol. Tickets are $25-$55; student tickets day of performance, $20. For more information and tickets, visit www.cluboberon.com.