Dammit, Onyx! Why’d you make us wait this long for ‘Rocky Horror’?

Horror show: Cory Benway as Frank ‘N’ Furter (right) and Aaron Marcotte as Brad Majors
Photo: April Corbin
Jacob Coakley

The Details

The Rocky Horror Show
Three and a half stars
Through October 30, 7 p.m. (additional midnight performance on October 30), $25.
Onyx Theatre, onyxtheatre.com

The Rocky Horror Show is a candy confection with an alt-sensibility. The good news is that the Off-Strip production at the Onyx Theatre delivers on its promise, and has enough snap to make up for its flaws.

For anyone not familiar with the story, here’s the Twitter version: A virginal couple happens upon a creepy castle, an even creepier (yet rocking) support staff and the cross-dressing hedonist in charge of it all, Dr. Frank N. Furter. Complications ensue, virginity is lost, songs are sung, and the audience generally talks back to the performers in a very rude way.

Here’s the thing about a live show versus a movie, though: Live actors can respond. One of the highlights of the show is just how sharp and funny the live cast can be, both calling for comments from the audience and responding to them when delivered. On the night I saw it, a girl in the front row practically inserted herself into the performance with her continual callouts. Cory Benway, as Frank N. Furter, got in most of the good ripostes to her, but the Narrator (Glenn Heath) also got his licks in.

Much like the score itself, the vocal quality of the cast was uneven, but very solid overall. Elizabeth Matthews was strong as Janet, but had a few shaky moments. And while I normally love Drew Yonemori, he was no match for the song “Hot Patootie.” I wanted more from Benway, who seemed to be reprising his Hedwig from a few months back, but then again, both Furter and Hedwig are singing, cross-dressing, sexually confused and frustrated characters from Eastern Europe … how much deviation could there possibly be?

Thanks to some tremendous costuming by David Heckman, Frank N. Furter sported an unexpectedly perfect Liza Minnelli look. Costumes for the floor show were also gorgeous, and the final alien uniforms for Riff Raff and Magenta truly popped.

The Rocky Horror Show doesn’t aspire to art. It knows exactly what it is—gonzo sexual satire of ’50s movies and mores—but it’s still refreshing to watch a performance that honestly aims to entertain its audience—one that understands the show might not be for everyone, but still makes for a damn good time out.


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