This past Sunday afternoon I went on a journey to Frank N’ Furter’s castle and witnessed The Rocky Horror Show at City Lights Theatre Company in San Jose, CA. After performing this show last year, and having seen a few productions; I went in excited to see another company’s take. What made this particular production a bit more exhilarating is that it is the 10 year anniversary from when City Lights first staged this cult classic. This 2013 style has all the spunk and glamour you would expect from a Rocky Horror staging.
The Rocky Horror Show follows the original movie pretty closely. Brad and Janet have fallen victim to car trouble on their way to visit Dr. Scott. They decide to take shelter in a castle. Riff Raff welcomes them in, and the love birds embark on an evening of crazy antics, sexual explorations, and a lot of touching. The plot really is just a façade between some stellar music (Richard O’ Brien) numbers and costumes galore.
Ken Boswell (Narrator) is our one “normal” character that gives the audience charismatic commentary throughout the piece. Boswell’s delivery and vocal inflection make for a comically enjoyable Narrator. Frank’s two female minions, Columbia and Magenta (Katherine Leyva and Annie Donahey, respectively) are strong in their vocals and acting chops. Leyva nails the beloved tap solo in “Time Warp.” Donahey has a great character development, and a tremendous vocal turn as the Usherette in “Science Fiction/Double Feature.”
(Rocky (Michael Weiland), Alicia Gangi Malone (Janet); Photo Credit: Mike Ko/Silicon Valley Designs)
Michael Weiland (Rocky) is a fun creature to watch. His nuance of discovering everything for the first time during “Sword of Damacles” is excellently detailed and motivated. Chase Campbell (Brad) gives an okay performance as the a**hole boyfriend to Janet. His turn at “Dammit, Janet” is a bit forced, but he does give some good vocal justice to “Once In A While.” In the same breath, the show’s leading “man”, Frank N’ Furter (Nathaniel Rothrick) provides some nice vocals in “Sweet Transvestite,” and “I’m Going Home,” but lacked the diva, character part of the Furter role. It just didn’t pop out on stage like the role should.
Alicia Gangi Malone (Janet) and Matthew Gregg (Riff Raff) are excellent all around in this production. Malone gives stellar vocals in “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” and especially in “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch-Me.” Gregg started off strong in “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” and just never stopped rocking it. His presence alone is fantastic to watch, let alone his singing and acting performance.
Gus Kambeitz gives the Phantom ensemble a great company sound. The harmonies in “Time Warp,” are especially impactful. The Phantoms themselves are a great core four to watch and listen to. Furthering on that thought, Lori Martinez’s choreography is a creative highlight. Martinez makes the right choices when it comes to re-creating the original choreography and making her own stamp on the intimate stage. Overall, this is a well put together production (Lisa Mallette and Kit Wilder direct) that is sure to leave you wanting more. So cut out the antici………..pation and go see this show!