author: ethan butterfield | staff writer
Getting freaky with Rocky Horror
“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey…”
This October has been quite the interesting one from start to finish. The Halloween season was in full swing as friends and family dressed up in their favourite costumes, representing either beloved characters or disturbing creatures. It’s really a season where everyone is allowed to sort of break the mold and be what they want to be creatively. Unless you dressed up as Pennywise the Clown, you hack.
Speaking of costumes, a classic ritual that comes to us year in and year out is none other than The Rocky Horror Show (deemed The Rocky Horror Picture Show in cinemas). For those who aren’t familiar, Rocky is a cultural revolution of a show for the most part. A stage production that has stood the test of time, as well as turn the genre on its head, The Rocky Horror Show has taken audience participation to another level, calling on people to heckle and dance along so that the entertainment value doesn’t stop being fun for the viewers and performers alike.
In regard to the ‘Rocky fever’ that grips the season, if you will, Regina was definitely no stranger to it. In fact, I myself was very fortunate to see the Sterling Productions presentation of The Rocky Horror Show, which ran from October 24 to 26 at the Conexus Arts Centre.
So how was the show? Well, for starters, I feel I should mention that I was 100 per cent a “Rocky virgin” when heading in (someone who’s never participated in the live version of the show). That being said, despite having no idea what to expect when heading into the theatre, I had heard about certain things that took place during the production, such as throwing rice and the Brad and Janet heckling. Let me tell you, though, I was not prepared for what Rocky had to offer.
Near the beginning, when things had moved past a nice opening number (performed by Sydney Gust) and people were getting settled in for the night, I found myself a bit perplexed by everything. The characters were being introduced and things were rolling along smoothly, but yet, the crowd seemed so high energy right from the get go. Every so often you’d hear a crowd member yell “asshole” or “slut,” as well as various other dialogue happening on stage. My mind was honestly boggled.
So, I went with it, just sat there stiff and confused, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Despite this, however, it felt fun. The interactions, the show, the crowd, it all brought a sense of relief that one doesn’t find in performances nowadays. Rarely will you go to a night of live acting and music with the intent of talking during all the action, but that’s exactly what Rocky, and indeed, Sterling Productions did. They created a night of relaxation for people that wanted to go out and call someone an asshole or slut, comedically mind you, not with any real angry intentions behind it.
Now, the succession of moving from stiff to loose took all of one song. A song that is quite familiar to a lot of people. You probably guessed it, and yes, it was “Time Warp,” one of The Rocky Horror Show’s greatest tunes of all time. I stood up, I danced, I relaxed. The music was excellent and the talent on stage sold it extremely well. In fact, if not for a few other choice sections, this could have easily been one my favourite moment of the night. But oh, how there were other moments.
A lot of what transpired afterward was well placed dialogue, great emoting from the actors (especially Brad and Janet), well-timed fourth wall breaking (especially from Dr. Frank N. Furter), and wonderful singing that could make anyone tap their foot and sing along. Everything just seemed to work well with little to no fault. Honestly, if I had to list anything I thought was misplaced or odd, I think the audio was a bit out of place on some of the quieter songs, but the show was too bloody enjoyable really notice all that much.
So I know I mentioned favourite moments earlier, but the truth is, the whole show was my favourite moment (I know, I know, cop out answer). I will say the section of the show I enjoyed most was “Hot Patootie/Bless My Soul” , but that’s only because I love Meatloaf from the film. Still, though, it was done well all the same.
All in all, from the cast to the crew, the dialogue to the dancing, and the feverish nature of the audience to the toe tapping craziness of the soundtrack, Sterling Productions nailed and brought to life every aspect of The Rocky Horror Show and then some. So, I guess I’ll sign off by saying “Let’s do the Time Warp again!”