The Rocky Horror Show, precursor to the forever-popular Rocky Horror Picture Show, is a gleefully silly sendup of B-grade horror flicks, those goofball movies that get spoofed on TV’s Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Richard O’Brien’s musical, first unleashed on camp-craving audiences in 1973, breaks most of theater’s stodgier rules.
Are you moved to shout at the actors? Go right ahead. Feel like getting in on the action by tossing things at the stage? Be the Rocky Horror gang’s guest. Want to dress like the gals and ghouls onstage? Please do.
In the run-up to Halloween, the Slow Burn Theatre Company is launching its second season at the West Boca Performing Arts Theatre with an out-there, impressively delivered Rocky Horror Show. (Slow Burn isn’t alone in linking Rocky Horror and Halloween: On Tuesday’s episode of Glee, titled The Rocky Horror Glee Show, the kids do Rocky Horror as their annual school musical. See it at 8 p.m. on WSVN-Fox 7.)
Like many a B movie, Rocky follows the misadventures of a pair of innocents who cross paths with deranged villains. The very square Brad (Noah Levine) and his fiancé Janet (Alexa Cappiello) wind up “guests” at a castle occupied by mad scientist Frank N. Furter (Larry Buzzeo), a doc who does his experiments while decked out in a corset, nylons, heels and enough makeup to deplete a MAC Cosmetics counter.
The doc is assisted by brother-and-sister servants Riff-Raff (Rick Peña) and Magenta (Renata Eastlick), a third sidekick Columbia (Anne Chamberlain) and various “Phantoms” (Troy Davidson, Arturo Sierra, Vance Vlasek, Mary Gundlach, Sabrina Gore and Ysenia Iglesias).
Brad and Janet get to witness the “birth” of Frank’s state-of-the-art creation Rocky (Miguel Quintero), a creature with a physique far more impressive than his brain. Still, Rocky turned out better than Frank’s previous life-creating experiment Eddie (Clay Cartland), who reappears only to be swiftly dismembered by his flamboyant transvestite creator.
During their ill-fated stay at the castle, Brad and Janet both lose their innocence (OK, their virginity) courtesy of that trickster Frank. And both wind up in Frank-like garb for a sex-crazed floor show. The plot, stitched together by a deadpan Narrator (Matthew Korinko), is on par with a B movie script, which is to say ridiculous.
The fun of Rocky Horror lies not in its artfulness but in its free-for-all inclusion.
If you’ve ever been to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show, you know the drill: Whenever Brad’s full name is spoken, you yell “a**hole” at him. Likewise, the pure-as-snow Janet gets called “slut.” You throw rice during the wedding scene and wave glow sticks as the cast sings There’s a Light in the Darkness. Slow Burn doesn’t allow hot dogs or toast (messy and dangerous for the actors) or open flames (Frank N. Furter aside), but the company will sell you a bag of tossable props for $5.
Under director-choreographer Patrick Fitzwater and musical director Phil Hinton, Slow Burn delivers a way-hot Rocky Horror, with strong work from designers Ian T. Almeida (sets), Traci Almeida (sound), Lance Blank (lighting) and the multitasking Peña (costumes). Buzzeo rules the roost as the magnetically shameless Frank, but Rocky Horror also features a breakout performance by Eastlick, who rocks out as Magenta and the scene-setting Usherette.
You can, of course, throw stuff at your TV during Tuesday’s Glee. But why rob yourself of misbehaving in the company of others — and having the Slow Burn crew clean up the evidence?