by Geoff Hoff~
The script for the play Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard O’Brien (who played the role of Riff Raff in the original production and the movie) is incredibly decadent, dramatically problematic and a lot of fun. The production by the Coeurage Theatre Company currently playing at the Space Theatre is also incredibly decadent, a little problematic and a lot of fun.
Gregory Nabours plays Frank ‘N’ Furter and has the singing voice, mannerisms and attitude for the role, although he tends to spend much of the play shouting his lines, which is a common habit of young actors playing a character with a lot of anger. There were, unfortunately, little or no dynamics in his performance and top volume can be a big problem in a little space. Jeremy Lelliott, who was otherwise quite good as Riff Raff, fell into this same pattern toward the end of the play.
I had expected a fairly innovative interpretations from Coeurage Theatre but the most innovative thing was the questionable decision to have the character Eddie (played by Joe Calarco) be a stoned-out hippy rather than the usual badass biker. It didn’t seem to fit with the late fifties/early sixties vibe of Brad and Janet and the cheesy drive-in science fiction movies that the play lampoons. One wonderfully delightful thing they did was having the Phantoms (the chorus, and Frank ‘N’ Furter’s minions) speak a lot of the call and response lines that the rabid cult audiences of the movie version shout during a midnight showing. That simple thing brought the experience of the play into line with mind-set of any audience member who longed to throw toast and rice and squirt water guns.
Overall, the point of the play is for the cast and audience to have a naughty good time, and that point was well served. It was very naughty and it was a very good time.
The cast all had good to magnificent voices and O’Brian’s music was very well served by them. Graham Kurtz, Deven Simonson and Sara Perry were the Phantoms and were delightful, setting the mood of bored debauchery right from the top. Jesse Bradley was Brad Majors and Julianne Donelle was Janet Weiss and both were practically perfect as the repressed, held-in 1950s version of innocence.
Lawrence Peters was the Narrator and was a delight. He was the grand old thespian, peeking in to the goings on with a knowing wink in his eye. Columbia and Magenta were played by Aimee Karlin and Nicole Monet respectively, and were both wonderful. Ms. Karlin had some incredibly funny moments of both innocent (if anything in Frank ‘N’ Furter’s sphere could be called innocent) delight and over-the-top grief.
Dr. Scott was played by Dedely Guberek. He was a lot of fun, but the tiny space prohibited them from having him be in a wheelchair (they used a walker instead, with mixed results) and the usually shocking reveal of his character, although cleverly staged, was greatly diminished to the point of being almost lost because of it. Karnell Matthews was Rocky, the created muscle man.
There was a live three-piece band, hidden behind the stage, Brian Morales, Brian Cannady and David Lee. They were very good. Ric Peraz-Selsky directed. The lights by Casey Holm were good, the costumes by Natalie O’Brien were wonderful. All in all, this Hollowe’en season serving was good naughty fun.
Rocky Horror Show plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7 pm through November 14th, 2010
The Space theatre is located at 665 N Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, 90029, just west of Vermont.
Tickets: pay what you want
Reservations on-line at http://coeuragetheatre.com/rsvp/