Dammit, Janet- It’s Rocky Horror!

Get dressed up, practice your favourite lines, and pack some food while you’re at it, because the Rocky Horror Show is back in London.

Pacheco Theatre brings the classic Richard O’Brien musical to the Grand Theatre’s McManus Stage for its third and final run, from October 12-21.

This frantic celebration of science fiction, B movies and unfettered sexuality will leave you perplexed, delighted and singing along.

That is, of course, if you’ve never been to the Rocky Horror Show before.

And if you haven’t been to the Rocky Horror Show before, what have you been doing with yourself?

Prepare to get sexy

The story finds newlyweds Brad and Janet stranded in a wild storm at the house of transvestite scientist Dr. Frank n’ Furter. Among the house’s crazy roster of characters is Frank n’ Furter’s prize, a Frankenstein-style Adonis named Rocky Horror.

A near-unbelievable set of circumstances unfold that see the shackles of marriage, sexuality and good taste well and truly thrown off.

Rocky Horror McManus theatre.
Janet and Brad (Mara Fraccaro and Ben Kennes), enter the strange and sexy world of Dr. Frankenfurter during Rocky Horror Show rehearsal at the McManus.

Theatre fans have celebrated the Rocky Horror Show for more than 40 years for its light- hearted, kitschy take on unreality. The show’s all-out celebration of transvestism and oddness arrived at a time when gender identity was still very much black and white, and when greying those lines meant being relegated to well beyond the mainstream.

Despite this, the legend of the Rocky Horror Show’s bizarre characters and memorable music spread to the world’s major theatre centres, spawning a devoted following.

Last of the trilogy

This year marks the third and final time that John Pacheco’s version of Rocky Horror plays at McManus.

Pacheco is an Elora native who moved to London in 2000, and was a mainstay on the city’s theatre scene before starting Pacheco Theatre in 2009.

Rocky Horror McManus Theatre
The ensemble of the Rocky Horror Show jumps to the left, then steps to the right during rehearsal at the McManus Theatre.

The company has run a number of successful big-name musicals, including Chicago, The Producers, and Sweeney Todd.

Pacheco noted that he has employed the majority of his ensemble for each of his three Rocky Horror Show productions, and points to this is a testament to the pull of the show.

Friendly conversation

Bruce Carter, a theatre friend of Pacheco, arrived at the theatre with the cast in the midst of a vocal warm up.

He spoke fondly of his early exposure to the Rocky Horror Show in the form of an Ottawa production that ran on a monthly basis for many years. Carter recalled the show’s participatory tradition where fans dress up, holler lines at actors, throw food and generally behave poorly throughout the performance.

Rocky Horror McManus Theatre
Rocky (Josh Carroll), gets into position during Rocky Horror Show rehearsal. The show opens Oct. 12 at the McManus Theatre.

At Monday’s dress rehearsal the buzz of a theatre ahead of opening night was in the air, but it’s the enthusiasm and excitement for this show that is most obvious across the cast.

The show’s unique flavour is almost whimsical, and makes the bizarre world housed within the Rocky Horror Show’s two acts well worth exploring. Its music, its marquee lines, and its willingness to send up anything serious is what resonates most throughout the ensemble and audiences alike.

The Rocky Horror Show is presented by Pacheco Theatre, and runs at the Grand Theatre’s McManus stage from October 12-21. Some performances are already sold out. Buy tickets your tickets here.

Photos by Allan Lewis

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