Sydney James Harcourt as Rocky surrounded by the cast of
Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show”
Photo by Henry DiRocco
‘The Rocky Horror Show’
Book, Music and Lyrics by Richard O’Brien
Directed by James Vasquez
Old Globe Theatre, San Diego
Sept. 15 to Nov. 6, 2011
Rocky Horror: it evokes memories of midnight movies, bizarre costumes and trademark insults drunkenly yelled at the screen. A movie so awful it became a classic. The experience you get at the Old Globe’s revival of “The Rocky Horror Show,” the original musical from 1973, isn’t quite the same, but it’s close enough and in some ways better. (See video excerpt, below.)
First off, if you go, and I encourage you to go, go all the way. Wear a costume, brush up on your lines, bring a newspaper, drink one too many beers. This is no show for the inhibited. But be warned, the cast is prepared for you. They know what you’re going to shout at them, and they know what they’re going to say back.
Plot? Who cares? Boy proposes to girl, boy and girl end up at spooky castle surrounded by freaky, oversexed aliens, music ensues. Boy and girl, Brad and Janet, are played solidly by Kelsey Kurz and Jeanna de Waal. They are foils and play the parts well. The highlights, of course, are the freaky aliens, led by Matt McGrath as Frank ‘n’ Furter. It’s not intended to be a subtle role and McGrath understands that. Nadine Isenegger gets her own over-the-top award for her turn as Columbia and Sydney James Harcourt, as Rocky, lets the muscles do most of the talking.
Remember the supercilious narrator from the movie? We heap abuse on him (where’s your neck?). But again be warned, this narrator (David Andrew Macdonald) bites back. MacDonald is quite droll in his smoking jacket and smirk. At times, he even beckons the crowd to supply the appropriate lines. He also plays Dr. Scott and, at times, both characters at once.
James Vasquez’s direction is spirited and well-timed. It’s important to note that he was a last-minute replacement (artistic differences, etc.) and stepped up nicely. The set is brilliant—think a Blade Runner-themed strip club with a rock band incorporated into the upper floor.
Rocky Horror: you should go. It’s fun and fun is good.