James Stewart Reaney
James’s Brander Newer Blogger
Okay, let’s do the Time Warp back to Saturday June 2 and review the opening night Rocky Horror audience.
In a word, magnificent.
The fans jamming the Stratford Festival’s Avon Theatre for what is properly called Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show were wild and crazed and loud — and did we mention the costumes?
One should always dress up for the theatre — but when you can arrive, en masse, in darling little maid’s costumes and then stride (as only Londoners can) to the best seats in the house … well, that spectacle did the those Forest City fans proud and inspired this LondonFuse contributor.
Yes, there were fishnets. Fishnets. Fishnets. Gorgeous and galore. Sisters and brothers, we salute and envy you.
As for the “spontaneous interjections” from the audience? (These are the oft-witty quips shouted during lulls to spoof the next line etc. A sacred part of Rocky Horror “interaction.”)
In a word, uneven.
The best were one about Costco — which seemed to amuse the cast — and another about Justin Bieber (greeted with a wonderfully knowing pause by the great Dan Chameroy as Frank N. Furter).
Least funny were the predictably raunchy ones — and while we’re at it, let’s retire slut to the Walk of Shame. Unless what we mean is “Thank you for displaying such a strong love-force in the face of so much death-force,” and address it to everyone getting it on and on.
One question: Are any of those “spontaneous interjectors” plants? If not, the fest should be talent-scouting the house because these superfans are off-book and can really project.
Our hero: Many of the quips are directed at the Narrator (Steve Ross) whose plodding delivery is mocked as “boring” over and over. Ross’s ability to parry the taunts with the occasional rewrite or rude gesture is hilarious.
Oh yeah. Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show was also the final production to open at the 2018 Stratford Festival’s opening week.
So. You know or guessed this already — Donna Feore’s direction and conception is turbo-charged and has the perfect Furter (Chameroy) at the over-the-top button.
In a fine, fine cast of belters and hoofers, Jennifer Rider-Shaw (Janet), Kimberly Ann-Truong (memorable meltdown as Columbia) and George Krissa (superb in gold Lamé-ish Speedo look as Rocky and would be a perfect Puck) jump to mind.
The music: Time Warp is a pantheon hit and Touch-a-Touch-Me is also tops. Right up there are the Bowie/Ziggy/Queen laments, and other songs are blessed with blissfully complicated lyrics… Which those belters make sure you hear and love.
Western music education grad Charlene Nafziger is Rocky Horror’s keyboardist and associate conductor.
London Central grad Trevor Patt is terrific in two roles — as rock ‘n’ roll creation Eddie and mad mad scientist/alien hunter Dr. Everett Scott. He blows out the back row singing Eddie’s faux 1950s anthem Hot Patootie and gets big laughs as Dr. Strangelove, er, Scott.
For a little background, Trevor Patt was Jean Valjean in the Grand Theatre 2007 High School Project production of Les Miserables. Before that he was in West Side Story (HSP 2006) and Central’s 2007 production of Alice Through The Looking-Glass, directed by the late Ann (Macmillan) Bulger.
Here’s an update for theatre outside Stratford; London-born ace Ellen Denny played Alice in that same production — she was just nominated for a Dora (Okay, a “Toronto Brickenden”) for her performance in Life After … and playing her father in Life After was — Dan Chameroy.
Troubled suburban dad with pipes to Frank N. Furter in a few months — that is range-plus.
Plot summary: Anyone care to try? Really.
Background: Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show, directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, featuring Dan Chameroy, Jennifer Rider-Shaw and Sayer Roberts.
Billed as: “SEX, DRAG AND ROCK ’N’ ROLL. It’s the most fun you can have in fishnets! … Drinks before, during and after the show. This production contains mature content unsuitable for young children, including sexual themes and language.”
Continues at the Avon Theatre until (of course) Oct. 31. Yay.