I joked with the marketing director when I was arranging my ticket reservation for this show: with a cast like this, I don’t need to review it. I was right. I’ll let you in on a little secret—I’ve never cared much for The Rocky Horror Show. Theatergoers will know that this is a cardinal sin and that I’ve practically signed my death warrant by admitting it. Mea culpa. However, despite this mighty disadvantage on my part, I still had a great time. This show features a powerhouse cast. To start, I’ll admit that I am a good friend of Erin Cohenour’s, Magenta in the show; I don’t think anyone will accuse me of bias, though, when I espouse the grandeur of her voice and humor. She opened the show and maintained vocal thunder all the way through. Opposite Erin is the equally golden voiced Nathalie Cruz—a local favorite and rightly so. She was a pleasure to hear and watch, and her weepy characterization was about as fun to watch as anything from Chuck Jones or Tex Avery.
Really, the whole show was perfectly cartoonish—as it darn well should be. Everything was lively, bright, and amusing. I will admit that the set, while outlandish, was a touch on the sparse side. This wasn’t a serious problem, but with such an open space, anyone sitting to one side of the auditorium will have an unobstructed view of actors preparing and stage hands lounging in wings. One other practical difficulty is that the titular character must wear next to nothing. This leaves little room for his mic pack, which in this case, was tucked in the back of his skivvies. The unfortunate result of this was what appeared to be an incontinent Rocky. Perhaps if he wore a wide waistband under which this could hide? The rest of the costumes were just about as skimpy, and it’s a testament to the talent of Ashley Kiefer, the costumer that they appeared to be suspended by silk and a prayer—wowza. They were all unique but still felt cohesive among the ensemble. Furthermore, it’s a small miracle that no one’s privates ever popped out during the dances.
And, oh, what dances there were. Mariel Greenlee’s choreography was indescribably fun and sharply executed—it was very evident that everyone on that stage was having a blast. Off stage, the music was played with identical skill. One frequently will enjoy a musical with talented singers, but not as talented musicians. Not here: this band was right on point—though the sound could be mixed with a little less emphasis on the musicians so as not to drown out the lyrics issuing from these wonderful singers. Of course, leading the ensemble was Dr. Frank ‘N Furter, played by Scott Keith—yet another amazing voice. This is a tough job when playing a part so widely known from the film version, but Keith’s Frank ‘N Furter was original and wicked, yet loveable. His look was modern and colorful, as was everyone’s, except for the drab Riff Raff, played by Damon Clevenger. Of course, this was intentional—the character looked sharp and hollowed. The makeup jobs are nicely done, both on the colorful characters like Frank ‘N Furter and the sallow Riff Raff. Clevenger adds to his ghoulish presentation by affecting a sort of lanky, serpentine motion wherever he went, creating a character who seemed at once deathly and conniving.
On the other end of the spectrum is the positively badass Eddie, played by local genius Paige Scott. Scott also, and rather appropriately, doubles as the character of Dr. Scott, and she is hysterical performing as both. Of course, the funniest character was not even present: Dave Ruark’s narrator was pre-recorded and used to great effect projected up on the big screen at the Athenaeum. This made for a very fun and fresh theatrical experience.
Finally, I would remiss to fail to mention the ensemble—these people were almost my favorite part of the whole show. They sold every last second of stage-time they had, and even welcomed the audience back from intermission. All while basically wearing lingerie. This group was tight (in more ways than one) and precise and joyous. Every one of them should be proud.