Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Rocky Horror Show"

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entire contents copyright 2011 by Tony Annicone

"The Rocky Horror Show"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Turtle Lane's first production of their 31st season is "The Rocky Horror Show" which opened in London on June 16, 1973 and on Broadway on March 10, 1975 but only ran for 45 performances. The well known movie version, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' also made in 1975 later found audiences at late night movie runs. The stage show is a science fiction-comedy-horror-musical and it begins with an usherette singing "Science Fiction" with Phantoms swirling about the stage and during the show they become chorus members in many of the numbers. A narrator who reminds you of Alistair Cook, tells you the story of straight laced couple Brad Majors and Janet Weiss who recently became engaged, find themselves stuck on an eerie highway with a flat tire. They walk back to a remote castle in the woods hoping to find a telephone and are greeted by weird servants. The castle is owned by their master Dr. Frank N'Furter, a gender bending scientist from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. He creates blond muscleman, Rocky to be his playmate and kills Eddie, a motorcycle hoodlum rocker while eventually making love to both Brad and Janet. Frank flies into a rage when wheel-chair bound, Dr. Scott, Eddie's uncle shows up and after Frank finds Rocky and Janet in a tryst, freezes them, dresses them in lingerie and forces them to dance for him. After their performance, Riff Raff and Magenta, his servants arrive and announce they will be returning to their planet without Frank and Rocky. Brad, Janet and Dr. Scott are released from the castle. The fun and fabulous high energy show is directed by Richard Repetta. He has his multitalented cast interact with the audience and the audience enjoys every crazy, wacky minute of it. The musical direction by Matt McGrath and choreography by Julie Ann Lucchetti will leave you begging for an encore of "The Time Warp". The cheering crowd gives these hard working performers a well deserved thunderous ovation on a terrific musical presentation.

Richard blocks the show wonderfully on a gorgeous two story set by scenic designer Laura Schrader. She also changed the appearance of the theatre itself with hanging chandeliers and decor for an old castle that reminds you of the Addams family mansion. Richard has his cast use every inch of the set as well as having the cast walk through the audience in a few of the numbers. He surrounds himself with topnotch people from the performers to costumer designer Richard Itczak to lighting designer Saulius Slezas and sound designer, Alex Savitzky who ad libs many of the lines from the movie. The outstanding costumes include red bustieres and high heels worn by Brad, Janet, Columbia and Rocky. Matt plays keyboard and synthesizer, taught all the rock and roll songs to the cast and leads a terrific five piece rock band from the top of the set. Julie's unique dances include a Charleston, kick line, Fossesque moves, Thriller steps, jazz and modern. She utilizes her dancers splendidly during the entire show.

Leading this cast is Tim McShea as Dr. Frank N'Furter. He dances, acts and sings up a storm in this role. Tim wears many outrageous outfits as Frank and gives a dynamite performance, showing off his powerful voice in this role. He wears a skimpy body suit with a bustiere, platform heels and fishnet stockings. Tim is hilarious as this sex crazed scientist who has sex with Rocky, Brad, Janet and Columbia. The scene with Frank making love to Janet and Brad is the funniest scene in the show as Tim flings used rubbers at the audience while the Phantoms move the red drapes as if they are going at it behind them. His songs include "Sweet Transvestite" which stops the show with his awesome rendition, "I Can Make You a Man", a manic song about making Rocky a man like Charles Atlas which is hysterical, "Planet Shmanet Janet" where he mocks Janet, Brad, Dr. Scott and Columbia. His final song "I'm Going Home" is very touching and sentimental. Tim Korecky is Rocky, Frank's muscleman creation and is topnotch as this naive creature. Tim is clad in gold lame hot pants. Not only has Tim worked out for this role physically but he also shows off his baritone voice in "The Sword of Damacles" as he struts around and flexes his muscles, while running all over the stage trying to escape from Frank's clutches. He does a wonderful job especially when he wears fishnets, high heels and a bustiere in the second act. Two other scene stealers are David Lucey and Andrea Gaingreco as Riff Raff and Magenta. They stop the show with their "Time Warp" number. They excel as these demented siblings from outer space with their comic voices and great voices. David has a fantastic high tenor voice and a brilliant British accent as Riff Raff. Andrea also plays the usherette and gets to show off her strong belting voice in "Science Fiction". Devon Greenbaum also shines as Columbia, the groupie with her singing, dancing and acting. Devon is comical when she claims to be in love with Frank.

Kyle Carlson as Brad and Nicole Vandelaan as Janet do a wonderful job in their roles. They go from nice and normal to sex crazed people due to the influence of Frank. Kyle and Nicole sell their songs with their beautiful voices. Their duet, "Damn It Janet", his "Once in Awhile" which is a terrific ballad and her "Touch A Touch A Touch Me" which shows off her soprano voice while she seduces Rocky. Harry Rothman is the Narrator who tells the story of the show with a twinkle in his eye and moves around the entire set. He also joins in "The Time Warp" and many other numbers. Richard and Julie use him very wonderfully in this role. Usually the Narrator stays glued to his chair boring the audience to tears. Playing the hapless tattooed Eddie as well as Dr. Scott is Harry McEnerny who is excellent in both roles, making them different from each other. As Eddie, he has a rock and roll song called "Hot Patootie" where he sings about his love for Columbia with a dynamic voice and as the doctor sings "Eddie's Teddy" while sitting in a wheel chair doing a scat style to it. Harry uses a German accent as the doctor. Bravo to the hard working Phantoms who dance and sing up a storm in this show. So for a phenomenal rendition of "Rocky Horror Show", be sure to catch it at Turtle Lane Playhouse before the space ship leaves Newton. Tell them Tony sent you.

"The Rocky Horror Show" (7 - 30 October)
@ 283 Melrose Street, AUBURNDALE MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide