River City Rep’s production of Rocky Horror Show on Thurs night was rippingly witty and musical.
The initially innocent-looking Janet and Brad, Kelley Dorney and Austin Allie, were quickly shorn of their clothing, perhaps reminding the audience that Shreveport was born as a raunchy port where “tits and teeth” would have been the by-word for entertainment.
Perhaps someone should re-write Rocky Horror as a tale unfolding in Shreve Town. Running out of gas on I-20, a couple winds up in a raffish, re-purposed train station below the elevated highway…
But enough of this underground history.
For some viewers Rocky in the theater was appreciably better than Rocky the movie. Said Megan Colvin (under a shimmering blue wig, front row on Thurs night), “You feel more intensity. You can’t help but want to be part of the audience participation.” For Colvin, “Every aspect you love in the film – seeing it live made it not only sentimental, but that more relevant to how creative this show really is… pure genius in my opinion!”
The first time my foot was accidentally stepped upon by a whirling member of the cast I, too, felt this way. A bit later I was grabbed by the hands by a member of the cast. I was thrown into a dance scene, “The Time Warp,” which was, truth to tell, like throwing a rabbit into a briar patch.
Who snatched me? Was it Heather Bryson, a woman quite commanding as Magneta? Or was it Alyssa Farmer, a petite gal who played Columbia with a an impish grin, saucy spin and a bustier full of energy? I don’t think it was Aiden Poling, who brought smiling mouthfuls of sleaze to the role of Riff Raff. Nor was it the imperious Dr Scott, played imperially by John-Michael Strange.
I may have been tossed into the lights by one of the Phantoms, who added appropriate back-up vocals and ghoulish vibe. They were Megan Lowe, Karisca Wheeler-Sellers and Brandon Sellers.
Rocky is a sexual comedy, with multiple simulated acts of forced and fond fornication. I was not invited to participate in the beddings of Ms Dorney and Mr Allie by the broad-shouldered Jonathan McVay, resplendent in the role of Dr Frank N Furter.
But the entire audience was invited to shimmy upon the dance floor later. It was Colvin’s consummation. “My favorite part was being summoned by McVay, a perfect fit for the role of Frank, to dance to the Time Warp!”
Daniel Ley pounded piano behind the scrim and led a rock quintet through the score. In the orchestra were Christopher Robinson, Tom Yates, Kyle Martin and Mark Michell.
Was muscular Richard Wingert, possessed of abs to feel, the Rocky of one’s dreams? Was there a form of push-up that he could not perform, with you atop his tush, repeatedly? Ha.
Patric McWilliams’ direction was tight. The audience was in by 7:30 and out by 9:15. To be sure there were two Equity actors (Dorney, McVay) and a SAG (Bryson) shaking a leg in their underwear.
Highly recommended, especially if you need to laugh broadly and cut loose like you aren’t in a city of churches.
At Central Artstation, corner of Line/Common and Crockett. Not at Central Station, the ‘drag bar’ on Marshall St. Be aware that Rocky runs its’ final show Monday, October 30th at 7:30 pm.