The show begins with Brad Majors and his fiancé Janet Weiss (played by Peter Grant Mackechnie and Meredith Free) traveling to Denton to visit their former teacher, Dr. Everett Scott. When their car breaks down in the rain, they seek shelter in a nearby Gothic castle. There they are sucked in to the weird world of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Shak Haq), a “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.” Frank N. Furter is set to reveal his latest creation, a slab of man known as Rocky Horror.
Unfortunately, the mics cut in and out throughout the performance, so occasionally the musicians overpowered the actors’ singing. The performance was held at the Victoria College Chapel, which may have been the reason behind the sound issues.
However, all the actors proved to have powerful singing voices, with Lauren Goodman as the Narrator/Dr. Everett Scott standing out. Colin Asuncion as Riff Raff, Frank N. Furter’s right-hand man, commanded the show with a strong stage presence. The rest of the actors were as committed to their parts, keeping any and all physical abnormalities they gave to their character throughout the performance. If a character had a limp when walking, she would keep that limp when dancing.
Director Shak Haq produced a tight show: the performances were strong and the musical numbers engaging. The actors filled the space of the chapel and excited the audience. When walking, talking, and singing, Haq’s performance was riveting.
However, perhaps because of pulling double-duty as a director and performer, Haq seemed occasionally disengaged when playing Dr. Frank N. Furter. When he was not the focus of the scene, Haq’s body language betrayed the character, losing the femininity he had effortlessly exuded moments before.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t want to review the audience of a show, but with The Rocky Horror Show who you’re sitting with can be as important as who you’re seeing. There was a pack of Rocky Horror fans at the show shouting out lines in response to actors and (mercifully) throwing a single roll of Scott toilet paper, as is the custom.
Once the actors loosened up and began to play more with the audience, the atmosphere of the show became very campy and fun. Rocky Horror is almost the definition of camp, so the performance worked best when the actors gave themselves over to the idea.
Overall, the show was a success. The UC Follies’ production served justice to Rocky’s fishnet wearing, toast-throwing cult movie buffs everywhere. And isn’t that what every theatre company wants?