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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rocky Horror Show a bit rocky

We went to The Rocky Horror Show (for those who don't know, that is the title for the live stage version of what became the movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) produced by Sterling Productions at the Centre of the Arts. This was the third time I've seen it live, on top of seeing the film over 20 times, so I am very familiar with it. The play began with some incredible singing and performing by Jason Fisher (Brad), Hayley Robinson (Janet), Nolan Straightnose (Riff Raff), Nathan Weir (Narrator), and Tajzanna Hall (overture and Magenta). I was immediately enthralled by the spectacle which brought new colour, light and movement to the work that I hold such strong nostalgic value in. The make up, costumes, and especially the live music were all fantastic and the performers were really owning the roles, singing corny familiar songs with skill and meaning. Things got even better in scene two with the Time Warp (although the non-tiered seating made the impromptu audience dancers a major distraction, making Montana Adams' dance (as Columbia) difficult to see). However, with the entrance of the starring character Frank-N-Furter, played without flair by Lyndon Bray, I was ready to leave. He performed his role like someone who has watched the film a few times and had simply memorized his lines. His attempts at humour were pathetic cliches. I was reminded of Dom DeLuise and his uninspired antics including knuckle biting and audience mugging. I tried to appreciate the fact that Bray is significantly older than the rest of the cast and may have enjoyed it if they had tried to sell us on Frank-N-Furter being an over-the-hill version of his former self, but no mention of his wrinkles, his flabby skin, or his struggle to walk in heals was ever made. I stuck with the play to the end, knowing that the others had many good songs to come (and wow, they continued hitting them out of the park), and appreciated Bray's interaction with the audience in his final "I'm Going Home" song, but it was too little, too late for him to redeem his disappointing performance.


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