Vanity Project Productions brought us Hedwig and the Angry Inch (twice) at The Gladstone last year. Alvina Ruprecht called it “the theatre event of the season”. From April 1 to 4, they’re presenting another theatrical treat: a dynamite production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show.
I pity those without a ticket – this is the most fun I’ve had in a theatre in years! The sold-out opening night audience ranged from young hipsters to folks who saw the cult film when it first came out in 1975 to their parents. And everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
This enjoyment was evident on stage, too. Tom Charlebois as The Narrator was having so much fun that I wondered if he had paid Vanity Project for the privilege of acting in the role. The exquisite Rebecca Noelle, a gifted songstress from The PepTides, obviously relished every one of Usherette/Magenta’s song-and-dance numbers. Andrew Galligan was delightful as the malevolent butler Riff Raff. Olex Pruchnicky was an energetic Columbia. Victoria Luloff was perfectly cast as the virginal Janet Weiss, with Ray Besharah as her uptight fiancé Brad Majors. Mathieu-Philippe Perras made a very sweet Rocky. And Tim Oberholzer stole the show every time he stepped on stage. Oberholzer was born to play Dr. Frank N Furter.
It was nice to see such a large cast on a Canadian stage. In addition to all of the above actors, the cast is rounded out by Ted Forbes as Eddie, Lawrence Evenchick as Dr. Scott, and 6 (yes, 6!) Phantoms. Plus some fabulous cheesy costumes and amazing hairdos and makeup, a spiral galaxy pattern on the stage floor, and a prop for the audience to use on every seat. Not to mention 12 musicians on the recorded music. Wrangling all of this was the director, Stewart Matthews (he also did the choreography), and the stage manager, Jess Preece. Kudos to them both (and to Preece’s 2 assistant stage managers), particularly since Matthews and Preece also wore Rocky-appropriate costumes.
The Rocky Horror Show is great combo of cheesy and tight…as it should be! If you’ve seen the film, most of the staging will look familiar, but Matthews has added a few brilliant touches. My favourite was the doors to Frank N Furter’s castle – a great use of 2 of the Phantoms and a handbell. I only wish The Gladstone had the space for the audience to stand up and sing along. Ah well, we could sing and clap in our seats.
The website says a few tickets may become available due to people cancelling, so if you haven’t scored tickets to this, keep checking the website.
The Rocky Horror Show is at The Gladstone until April 4. For information and – if you’re very lucky! – tickets, click here.