THE PARTY IS AT RAY OF LIGHT THEATRE - D’ARCY DROLLINGER MAKES THE PERFECT FRANK N FURTER, AND BRIN
JOIN ROCKYS 4OTH YEAR IN THE LAB, AND BRING YOUR HEELS, THIS HAUNTED PARTY IS A BLAST!
The iconic Transsexual from Transylvania closes out a very successful season 15 at Ray of Light Theatre. Just after the company closed their powerhouse musical LIZZY and her reign of kill at the haunted Victoria - the Horror party continues. San Francisco favorite drag Queen D'Arcy Drollinger brings the heels to the SF Mission district in high fashion in ROCKY HORROR SHOW. The rock musical, celebrating its 40th anniversary was adapted into a film that became the all-time champion of the midnight camp movies. It is an over the top send up of two reel 1950s sci fi films, mixed with the fun sexual cross dressing of the early 1970s sex revolution. Director Jason Hoover says “Performing Rocky Horror on Halloween is the ideal way to close out our 2015 season. We have always held a soft...er...hard...spot in our hearts for Rocky, and we can’t wait to bring it back for one more outrageous, sexdriven, scifi musical fantasy,”. Hoover played Brad in 2008 when the company first produced ROCKY, and he has assembled a superb cast to celebrate the return at ROLT.
I suggest you hurry down to this lab and see what is on the table “slab”, but don’t resist the “Touch-a Touch- a Touch Me” of fun with this talented cast. This cult classic of musicals was written by Richard O’Brien in 1973. It did well in London, but only lasted 45 performances in New York, in 1975 its was adapted into a film, and we all know it became the longest running cult classic. Hoover’s direction and David Brown’s five member orchestra deliver some high stepping camp, that will leave you smiling and cheering. The Rocky fans can expect to yell out all your “cram it Janet” insults, but tossing food and rain buckets is not part of the live musical. As with any Rocky event, “virgins” of the show will hear the romp come at you from all sides, as the audience yells back at the cast. There is one “plant” in the house who seems to get all the good lines.
The cast features San Francisco drag favorite D’Arcy Drollinger, who heads the newest drag home in SF called THE OASIS with her friend and partner Heklina of TRANNYSHACK fame. Drollinger as Dr. Frank-n-Furter, the sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvania, is a class act stirring up the ROCKY sold out audience and commanding the Victoria stage with his manipulative, compellingly evil charm. In seven days he could make anyone a man, as he suggests to his newest creation Rocky.
The marvelous Alex Rodriguez as Rocky, is as much a show stopper as his boss, bouncing from scene to scene or sliding down or up a striper bar. Rodriquez is a pleasure to watch and as always his comic timing is skilled and toned, totally believable as a sexy muscle-bound creation that is just seven hours old.
The cast members have a great time pulling off this show. Hoover has added that extra energy and glamor proving that every angle of this party is a camp masterpiece, and the company of Phantoms all mostly in heels, are high stepping it at hundred percent. The opening night crowd was packed with both fans of the show and new to the Horror, but as the cheers and hoots filled the Victoria - they surely were not the ghosts of the classic venue.
As Brad and Janet - Ryan Cowles and Chelsea Holifield are the best nerdy couple to corrupt. The sold out crowd reminds any virgins to the show that Brad is an “asshole” and Janet is a “slut", it should actually be a new song for the 40th anniversary. The very funny shadow scene in the second Act, Frank seduces both of them in high camp fashion. Cowles is charming lanky, and Hollifield are the perfect pick for the lovestruck newly engaged couple. Cowles solo "Once in a While" is impressive and "Damn-it Janet" by the virgin couple is one of the highlights of the first act, besides the classic “Time Warp” with the company.
Paul Hovannes is not your typical Riff-Raff, the obediently evil butler to Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He is at times more lovable than the menacing ghoul you might expect. His madness is still creepy and Hovannes belts out “Time Warp”. He has a breathtaking voice, and blows up the Victoria with “Over at the Frankenstein Place” while Kelly Tighe’s wonderful gothic set lights up with energy. The wild mansion designed by Tighe, includes a long high rise grand staircase lined with candles, cascading red drapes, and dripping blood, with a sweet pole for Rocky to make his entrances. Joe D’ Emilio’s lights come alive during “Sweet Transvestite” and “I Can Make You a Man” - His back lighting in the second act is a classic touch D’Emilio adds to his shows. The cast bounces and parties with Bobby Bryce fun choreography, “Hot Patootie Bless My Soul” Eddie entrance is sassy played by the strong Madeleine Pla. Makeup for this production goes to Lexie Lazear and her team, it is just as important for this musical as the heels!
The classy Tielle Baker is splendid as Magenta, Riff-Raff’s sister and the doctor’s maid. Her crazy sexy wicked turn as she and her brother take over the lab in the second Act, that is always a confusing part of the story for me, but go with it. Mary Kalita is mesmerizing as Columbia, the psycho vagabond that is the result of Frank-N-Furter’s first experiment. She sings with total manic episodes that highlight her powerful stage charisma at every turn. Steve Hess is the Narrator and takes us through the 100 minute madness, he gets some the best insults from the audience. Hess also is cast as Dr. Scott who corners the plot if you followed the story past some of the silliness. The ensemble includes a fine company of Phantoms including RJ San Jose, Joshua Beld, Melinda Campero, Janice Engelgau, Cameron La Brie, James Mayagoitia, Amanda Jane Salmon, Chris Sottolano, Kate Sullivan and Leslie Waggoner.
D'Arcy Drollinger clearly brings this show home and is worth the evening in the SF Mission to see this classic camp of horror and heels. Drollinger is sexy and so well gowned by Miriam Lewis’ costumes. Frank N Furters final gown in the second act steals the shine from the show. The cast drapes around Drollinger and the evening ends with a great second round of a reprise of “Time Warp”. If you are annoyed by fans screaming out lines and lyrics from the show, then be warned - and come well blessed from the great wine bar in the Vic lobby. ROCKY HORROR is now 40 and if you are still a virgin of this event, get your heels on, and head to ROLT, the show runs through Nov 7th and tickets are going fast. Let the fine Doctor corrupt you this Halloween.
“Don't dream it, be it”
Ray of Light presents
The Rocky Horror Show
By Richard O’Brien
Directed by Jason Hoover, Music Director David Brown
continues through Nov. 7
Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., San Francisco.
Tickets are $25-$36.
Photo’s by Nick Otto