The Rocky Horror Show LIVE
October 18, 2017
Review by Shayli Robinson – Showbill.ca Staff Writer
Produced by Atomic Vaudeville for the 2nd time in the production’s 4-year run, The Rocky Horror Show LIVE is a smash hit with Victoria’s audience, from the teen-aged to the elderly. Packed with a full house on opening night, eager fans dressed up from tiny hats (much like Columbia’s) and boas to full-on costumes, perfect for the costume contest hosted by KISS 103.1, the show’s media sponsor.
The evening begins with the fully costumed band (Charles Graham on guitar, Deleina Lloyd on bass, Blair Hansen on drums, and Jeff Poynter on keys and saxophone) pumping out smooth tunes to tide the audience over until show time, which they play through with ease. Immediately calling the audience to attention, The Narrator, ever-charming J. McLaughlin, walks out to welcome the crowd flanked by the Creeps (Paul Shortt and Eddi Wilson), a unique addition to the show, decked out as intimidating clowns in tight suits.
Utilizing a well-designed set by Jimbo Insell featuring the classic Rocky lips that’s gradually revealed throughout the show, the cast truly transports you from Ralph and Betty Hapschatt’s wedding to Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s lab, thanks in part to the Creeps humorously standing in as part of the set.
Doe-eyed Janet Weiss (Sarah Anne Murphy, also the choreographer) and loveable dork Brad Majors (Jeff Insell) are laughably naïve before they both fully embrace lingerie, heels, and sexuality, as many fans know from the film – or, hey, maybe even the original stage musical.
Continuing the show’s themes of non-binary gender identity, Amber Landry portrays a perfect Riff Raff, pushing the bounds of creepy and sexy with a stunning vocal number. His sister, Magenta (Ingrid Moore) balances her disdain for Earth and loyalty to our brilliant doctor until she’s had enough, and the siblings suggest incest so well that you root for them… until you remember it’s incest. With a song added into the show notably not in the original production, Madeleine Humeny pulls off an impressive Columbia, with a shocking resemblance to her both physically and vocally.
The role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter seems made for Griffin Lea, as he has the character down to a science, with just the right amount of wit, timing, body language (an unbelievable ease in platform heels), and vocal range to make you forget about Tim Curry until you leave the theatre. Additionally, sassy references to RuPaul should always get extra points.
New to the cast, Michael Wren redefines Eddie as sensual with striking vocal work and returns later on as beloved Dr. Scott. Gabriel MacDonald gives us a slightly smarter Rocky that still plays upon his dim wits and classically good Aryan looks. The phantoms (Alita Powell, Julie Mombourquette, Emilee Nimetz, and Jesse Deutscher) slink around the set, providing memorable background support and aesthetic, making messy black wigs look sensual.
Dripping with antici… pation, The Rocky Horror Show LIVE is a must-see for all devotees of the iconic musical and for the virgins who have yet to be inducted. With enviable costumes, show-stopping song and dance numbers, and a sharp script, it delivers all a fan in 2017 could ask for.
Rocky Horror Show
Music, Lyrics, and Book by Richard O’Brien
October 18 – 29