By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Oct 24, 25, 29, 30,
and Nov 1 at 8pm
Oct 31 at 7 & 10pm
1411 Quadra St.
Tickets: $30; $35 with prop kit
Griffen Lea, Sarah Anne Murphy, Candace Woodland, Kelly Hudson are back in the Rocky Horror Show and they are bad in Rebel Knock Out (RKO) Productions’ take of this seminal Richard O’Brien stage classic. They have taken the energy from how they played Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Janet, Columbia, and Riff-Raff from last year’s Kaleidoscope version and amped it up. The crowd (whether they’ve seen that performance or not) roared and the shadow dancers cooed at their antics. Perhaps what’s noticeable is the added energy from Woodland strutting her stuff in the tap dancing routine from “Time Warp” and R.J. Peters (Brad) really channeling his inner nerd. When it comes to special solos in a musically raunchy show, Peters certainly created some nostalgic and sombre tones in “Once in a While” to make his moment memorable.
In what makes this version especially good is the use of a live band to provide the evening’s entertainment. A few changes were taken by finessing the score to suit the time set for the show and attuning to the performer’s vocal range. A few numbers like “Sweet Transvestite” sounded a bit off in octave, and Lea certainly found his tonal range by second song, “I Can Make You A Man.”
If a few of the tunes sounded off, that’s because some audiences are too familiar with the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s soundtrack. Sadly, that’s become a benchmark to many a stage-show, even though Tim Curry and Meatloaf were in both versions, and creative liberties have been taken. The hope for a few guitar solos did not happen and to see Eddie (Alex Judd) not blowing the sax can be forgiven. He does not sound like Meatloaf, and that’s just fine.
In what audiences will find is a fantastic light show. The sets look like they can be reused, so hopefully that means they will be saved to make performing the Rocky Horror Show an annual tradition in Victoria, BC. RKO has other ideas in mind for next year, but if the demand is there, the gang may consider encore shows. One fan’s hope is to see Shock Treatment.
There were a few technical hitches on Friday and thankfully most of them did not distract. To hear the performers from stage tends to be nicer than amped up from a digital mixing board.
In the purchasable audience participation bag, audiences were encouraged to throw them up than towards the stage. It’s a shame that these days, bringing a few items are not allowed. Throwing rice or confetti is not encouraged ‘lest the theatre has an excellent cleanup crew waiting in the wings. The use of water guns is most likely now banned, and where’s the toilet paper?
Some items will be sorely missed in these interactive Rocky Horror shows. Not even cell phones or Flic a Bic’s are allowed for “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” but a faux memento newspaper can be used to imitate walking in the rain. In this show’s case and Victoria, BC’s crazy weather, that can be helpful while waiting in line for this performance’s remaining shows playing during this week and well into Hallow’s Eve weekend.