The Rocky Horror Show by RKO Productions October 22-31, 2015. A review.

The Rocky Horror Show by RKO Productions October 22-31, 2015. A review.

RKO (Rebel Knock Out Productions) returns to the Metro Studio Theatre October 22-31, 2015 with their sophomore production of what Victoria theatre audiences can only hope will become an annual tradition—The Rocky Horror Show LIVE!

For decades, the Roxy Theatre in Quadra Village hosted the movie (now in its 41st year), and legions of fans dutifully decked out in bustiers, corsets and fishnets invaded the theatre to throw toast and shout at the screen.

RKO was specifically founded in 2014 by Kelly Hudson, Griffin Lea, Sarah Murphy and Candace Woodland with the goal of bringing a live version of this beloved classic to our city. Last year’s production was such a rousing success, the company decided to re-mount the spectacle. And—what a spectacle it is.

Rocky Horror Show 2015

At Friday night’s performance, the audience was equally divided into costumed and non-costumed factions. The costumes in the seats were at times every bit as extravagant as those onstage—my favourite being a group who came dressed as French maids (typically Magenta’s costume). James (Jimbo) Insell’s characters represent a kaleidoscope of colours and styles—dripping lace cuffs on Riff Raff, spangles and sequins for a top-hat-and-tails-wearing Columbia, glamourous ruffed capes for Frank ‘N Furter, tatters and rags for the Creeps, luscious apricot-tinted chiffon for an angelic Janet, and the ultimate in other-worldly extra-terrestrial garb for Magenta and Riff Raff at the end of the night. Of course, no Rocky Horror Show would be complete without a stockinged and corset-clad line of dancers in Rose Tint My World.

Insell also designed the set, incorporating elements of the Ride the Cyclone arch, and creating a lab that would send any geek into paroxysms with its whirling electrified dials and gauges. Shadow and projections (R.J. Peters) feature extensively in Frank N’ Furter’s seduction scenes.

Narrator J. McLaughlin is assured in her delivery and ultimately capable of keeping a rowdy crowd in check should the need arise.

Leads RJ Peters as Brad and Sarah Murphy as Janet positively ooze “gosh, gee” charm in the opening sequences–their naïveté in delicious contrast to the sexy, sultry, glamourous and deliciously perverted Frank N’ Furter (Griffin Lea)—and metamorphose into more open and wanton individuals before the night is out.

The major minions (Kelly Hudson and Candace Woodland return as Riff Raff and Columbia while Jana Morrison takes over the role of Magenta) belt their numbers with gusto. Newcomer Keiran MacMillan is delightful in the role of Rocky; after years providing musical back-up for many shows in town (Ride the Cyclone, Lagrimas Crueles), MacMillan has finally stepped into the spotlight this year (playing Romeo for the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival this summer). He is definitely a young performer to watch with his mischievous nature and fine vocals. The big surprise of the night was Jacob Borgland (aka Wes Borg) in the dual roles of Eddy/Dr Scott, riding onto the stage on a motorcycle for a rousing rendition of Hot Patootie (one of my personal favourites) as Eddy, and mastering his best German accent as Dr Scott.

The phantoms (Sadie Evans, Jane Gaudet, John Han, Vaughn Naylor) provide accomplished back-up in the ensemble numbers while the creeps (Lori Grant, Eddi Wilson) provoke shivers as they jerk and slither in the shadows.

The band (under the musical direction of John Han) truly embraced the aesthetic of the evening as they set the expectation with their grooving intro before the show.

Together the team at RKO Productions has created a homage to the classic that will thrill fans and newbies alike with “AN-TI-CI-PA-TION”. This Rocky Horror Show is all-encompassing, and an invitation to become part of the family of the converted. Sitting, un-costumed, in the audience as people opened their prop bags and began to read the instructions, I began to plot how I will dress next year.

Apparently the word is out with fans from as far away as Kelowna planning a six-hour trip in order to attend. Be sure to grab your tickets before they’re gone. It’s a pleasure to see a gamble pay off for young artists, and to have The Rocky Horror Show join the multitude of high quality Hallowe’en theatrical offerings.

When the straight-laced sweethearts Brad Majors and Janet Weiss (RJ Peters and Sarah Anne Murphy reprise their roles) find themselves stranded in the woods during a suspicious thunder storm, they have no choice but to ask for help at the terrifying Frankenstein Place. Inside, they find that a deliciously charming yet utterly unpredictable transvestite is throwing a party for his unusual friends … and Brad and Janet are the guests of honour.

Rebel Knock Out (RKO) Productions Presents
The Rocky Horror Show: Live
The Metro Studio Theatre – 1141 Quadra St.
October 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 28th, 29th, 30th | 8PM
October 24th, 31st | 7PM and 10PM
Tickets $30 before applicable fees and taxes
Tickets available through
Authorized Rocky Horror Prop Kits are available for sale in the lobby ($6 or 2/$10).

Please note:

No cell phones, no recording, no outside props, no throwing props at the stage.
Failure to comply will result in immediate removal from the theatre.

References and further reading:

Rocky Horror Show script and lyrics
Rocky Horror Show costume information

Disclaimer: I was graciously provided a complimentary ticket to attend The Rocky Horror Show.

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