Arts Listings

Masquers Get it Right with ‘Rocky Horror’

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday November 05, 2009 - 08:56:00 AM

“You can’t rely on anyone!” laments ingenue Janet Weiss (Sophia Rose Morris) when a TV monitor reveals her nerdy fiancé Brad Majors (Raymond C. Duval) necking with their monstrously androgynous host, Dr. Frank N. Furter (Todd Carver) elsewhere in the castle that just happens to be on the route when their car breaks down in a rainstorm, setting in motion the louche goings-on—offspring of the unholy coupling of Sci-Fi, Rock ‘n Roll and a good number of the characters—comprising The Rocky Horror Show, creaking the boards at the Masquers Playhouse. 

But Janet’s no shrinking violet. Bursting into song with “Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me,” Janet reveals she’s got that kinda Girl Group thing—plus: “I’ve tasted blood—and I want more!”  

There’s less blood than flesh, and that gracefully clad in all manner of undergarments, including Frank’s turquoise bustier as he struts out in fishnet stockings, heels, all-over rhinestone fringe, singing, “I’m just a sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania.”  

And the juices that flow are mostly the voltage that animates Rocky (Nic Candito), Frank’s muscle-rippling “radiological research (and Paradise will be mine!)” as he invites the clueless lovebirds to “Come up to the lab/See what’s on the slab,” with a Mae West inflection. 

“One of the Master’s special affairs,” The Rocky Horror Show (book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien) in its Picture Show version especially, was outrider—or hors d’oeuvres to—the glitter-&-glam rock scene of the ‘70s, though it served as intro for much more, in good-humored old burlesk style, as director G. A. Klein owns up to in his program notes. 

Whatever might have been shocking about The Rocky Horror Show is now common coin, a little quaint even, which brings out the deliberately creaky kitsch that much more, so a moment here and there actually reflects that glorious triumph of over-reaching tastelessness angst exemplified by Ed Wood in such rancid paste gems of the sub-B movie screen as Glen or Glenda?  

More’s the fun, and The Masquers’ cast of 15 swings with it and communicates it with happy agility. The Master’s servants, Magenta and Columbia (Patty Penrod and Vicki Zabarte) prove to be rave-up, warbling ghouls; their doorman cohort, Riff Raff (Ted V. Bigornia) demonstrates he knows what skulking’s all about. Eddie, the tragic delivery boy (Paul J. White), bursts out of the closet Frank’s squeezed him into with “Hot Patootie.” Eddie’s uncle, a wheelchair-bound, teutonic Dr. Everett Scott (Larry Schrupp)—shades of Strangelove!--tears up “Eddie’s Teddy.” 

Rocky poses in his gold bikini briefs to belt out “The Sword of Damocles.” Frank promises “I Can Make You a Man” (twice), bitches “Planet Schmanet Janet” at the ingenue, finally pulling out the stops with tout ensemble in “Floor Show/Rose Tint My World.” 

But we mustn’t forget the dance sensation: “Do the Time Warp.” Nor the framing tune, bookending the show, trilled by an usherette suspiciously resembling Magenta: “Science Fiction Double Feature.”  

And all the while, the five Phantoms—and even the demure Narrator (Masquers managing director Robert Love) with his pipe and smoking jacket—writhe, shimmy and rock out to Anjee Norgaard’s choreography, as Pat King conducts the hot sextet in the pit (kudos to Wesley Asakawa’s piquant tenor sax) from the ivories. 

From Dianne Beaulieu-Arms’ costumes to Anne Collins’ props, from John Hull’s set to Greg Wilson’s lighting of it, from the tip of Rocky’s gold lace-ups to the top of Tammara Plankers’ wigs, The Masquers show what a community theater can do to entertain you, even by enlarging the perspective in an intimate playhouse with a couple of follow spots and wrap-around action in the aisles, or constructing Brad and Janet’s broken-down car out of the corpus delectii of the Phantom chorines—the flat tire a scantily-clad bondage beauty--Body by Fischer, indeed! 



Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Pt. Richmond.  

Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m. 

through Dec. 12 

Tickets, $18