I'm convinced that Richard O'Brien, the writer of the Rocky Horror Show now playing at the Shanachie Theatre, has visited Rhy'Din, if he was not actually born here. His plot and characters could be citizens of this fair city. There's Dr Frank N. Furter (played by Max Yako), a transvestite mad scientist, and his domestic help Riff Raff the butler (played by Eureus Vulturnus) and Magenta the maid (played by Riley Lo). Then there's Brad Majors and Janet Weiss (played by Ben Gates and Zephyr Favonious respectively), two innocent kids who are unknowingly thrown into the middle of a madhouse, rife with weird sexual kinks, singing, dancing, and a creature called Rocky (played by David Lo). Sounds like an average Tuesday night at the Red Dragon, doesn't it?
Yako's Frank was stunning and statuesque as he oozed delightfully around the stage. I'm beginning to wonder if drag isn't perhaps the look Our Max should be wearing all the time. He is completely at home in towering heels, corset, and fishnets. Vulturnus's Riff-Raff was nice and creepy and easily my favorite performance of the night.
Brad and Janet were suitably nerdish and Gates and Favonious's chemistry and wide-eyed innocence were perfectly acted (and, later, perfectly corrupted). And Lo's Rocky had all his pecs and biceps in the right places. Now I know why Riley seems to have mellowed lately. Who wouldn't be in heaven with a creature like Lo at one's side?
The singing was almost exceptional ? Riley should stick to ballet and getting people out of jail, but she did give her solos everything she had; too bad it just wasn't enough ? and the band provided a flamboyant backing.
The great thing about The Rocky Horror Show is that it has wide appeal, from cult followers to Gothic Revival nerds and folks who just like classic musicals. It?s Frankenstein meets Aliens, with a dash of a comic Psycho. It makes for an entertaining and clever take on twentieth-century popular culture.
I certainly won't tell you that Rocky is appropriate for all ages, or any ages, for that matter - but I will say that it was pretty hysterical at times. It was incredibly fast-paced - intermission came very quickly and I don't remember being bored at any point during the production. The set was obviously incredibly time-consuming to make and ended up very impressive; lighting and music were spot-on, and the stylish costumes added an extra touch, although some of the audience members put these to shame with their own get-ups. All in all the show was masterful. The craziness, while certainly nothing short of all-out insanity, was choreographed perfectly. Kudos are due to Director Ludo Von Eschenbach, Choreographer Joliss Orei'tarel, and Music Director Gabriel Tollen.
Long story short, if you're up for being scandalized and whirling along for a crazy ride, give yourself up to the insanity and let the Time Warp take you over! The show runs nightly through April 10th at the Shanachie Theater, in WestEnd.