Theatre Mirror Reviews - "he Rocky Horror Show"

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entire contents copyright 1997 by Derek J. McClellan

"The Rocky Horror Show"

Reviewed by Derek J. McClellan

Presented to raise money for the Aids Action Committee
Directed by James P. Byrne
Musical Direction by Mick Maldonado

On Wednesday October first I caught the preview performance of The Boston Rock Opera's production of The Rocky Horror Show. (Note: it doesn't say "Picture Show" because they wish to discern it from the film,) However the night I saw the work, it seemed an awful lot like the film.

Since it seemed an awful lot like the film one is left to ponder the relevance of the piece. It seems to be about crossdressing, murder, and rock and roll. All three (depending on your generation) are considered dubious, immoral, or illegal. However this spectacle makes it all out to be good fun.

I was never into the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I did manage to attend the film about twenty times during the mid-to late eighties. One thing about the work, and the Boston Rock Opera's production, is that it reminded me how good the music was. These are good, rockin', catchy tunes, and everyone, both musician and singer alike did a capital job with the task.

The production is also very sexy (a good thing), right from the get go we were given a bit of a warning from Special Guest M.C. Ginger Vitus ( A rather outrageous drag queen) who implored us not to throw rice, water or toast onto the actors and to keep the "responses" in between lines. Not bad advice. Who knows what may happen on subsequent nights, but during this performance there were pockets of people who were "determined" to relive the Rocky Horror they knew, with all the memorized dirty interjections they could yell out. The company handled this quite well, one even wonders if they rehearsed in preparation for such the inevitable banter.

I suppose we could romanticise about the original London Production, but there really is no way to bring that back, the phenomenon of the film audience participation experiance is what has kept this work alive. And for better or for worse (probably the worse), it shouldn't be stifled. (except ofcourse the projectiles, which may distract the talent). Viewing the production the same thing happened as it did during my multiple viewings of the film: it drags. At somepoint after the humourous bit of sexual shadow play the piece drags, and this is even with a revitalizing intermission. This is not the fault of the Boston Rock Opera, I think this is a fault of the original script. Oh well, I'm sorry Mr. O'Brien, perhaps I'm a party pooper, drags. Perhaps there is no where else it can go after reaching the highs of the first half. Even the moving "Don't dream it, Be it" number only saves the piece in theory. Unfortunatly (perhaps it was only this performance) but when Dr Scott's wheelchair bound legs are revealed, are we not suppose to see that he is clad in stockings and a garter? If not, bare legs seem hardly the revelation.

Well, I better shut up. Other than some opening night technical/audio difficulties it still remains a rockin' good show. Very sexy (Oh, speaking of sexy, I forgot to mention my favorite part: the opening number "Science Fiction" as sung by "Trixie", quite good). Go if you liked the movie, I recommend audience participation (if so inclined). Go for the music, go to raise money for the Aids Action Commitee, and go to support the Boston Rock Opera. We are lucky to have a group like this in Boston, we should encourage their future.

"Rocky Horror Show" (till 11 October)
Tower Auditorium, Massachusetts College of Art, 621 Huntington Avenue, BOSTON

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