The Rocky Horror Show @ Underground Theater

Perhaps the best reason to see this show is that it hasn’t been seen on stage in Los Angeles in quite a few years. When it first premiered back in 1973, The Rocky Horror Show was shocking, new, and a hell of a lot of fun. It’s still an enduring musical primarily because its devoted fans will never let it die. It’s not a perfect show, but the spirit of wacky weirdness touched a nerve with many of its fans. But those same fans can be as cold and unforgiving if not done right. Big Brit Productions’ mounting of The Rocky Horror Show gets a rocky start at best at the Underground Theatre and goes down hill from there.

It would be unfair to start off this review on a negative note, however, due largely in part the work of some of these talented actors in the cast. The production has major problems that are hard to overcome, but they knew right off the bat that the talent needed to be top-notch, and that’s exactly what they’ve got – for the most part. Troy Guthrie and Molly Laurel are an excellent choice for the roles of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss. Guthrie possesses a rich voice that holds up throughout the musical numbers, but really gets its showcase in Act II during “Once in a While.” Carey Embry’s Frank-n-Furter is sassy and over the top… perhaps a little too big for the size of this stage at The Underground Theatre. Kelly Devoto steals the show as Columbia, but sadly, there isn’t enough of her in the show. The performances, overall, are appropriately campy and very tongue-in-cheek, though at times the actors seemed a bit distracted with awkward blocking, staging, and choreography.

Which brings us to the major problem plaguing this production. The space at the Underground is small – too small for big-scale musical productions. Director Allison Austin’s direction is choppy, with awkward starts and abrupt stops and a lot of gaps between scenes. Lindsey Glick’s choreography is too cluttered for the big numbers, but miraculously, it sometimes works when all elements are in place – such as some moments in “Time Warp.” Perhaps a scaled down, bare bones production of this show would be a better option on such a small space (it has been done before successfully with other shows on smaller scales), but it would require a bit of visionary genius to pull it off. Unfortunately, this production relied a little too much on the movie version.

The Rocky Horror Show runs through July 10 at the Underground Theater at 1312 Wilton Place in Los Angeles. For tickets and more information please visit their website at www.rockyhorrorunderground.com.

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About Obed Medina
Obed received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Riverside. He has freelanced and volunteered at various theatre companies in Los Angeles since 2002. He launched his own workshop theatre company in 2008 and has produced six original one-act plays and one Off-Broadway hit. Currently, he is living in Ashland, Oregon working on his writing and founder of Collaborative Theatre Project.

2 Responses to The Rocky Horror Show @ Underground Theater

  1. Ed says:

    Audience participation has become a part of this show, but what about THIS show? Was there newspapers and squirt guns? Was it a Rocky audience or a Theatre audience? …Ed

    • Obed Medina says:

      It’s a theatre audience. There wasn’t any participation. The participation bit works best with the movie as audience participation at a theatre might distract the actors if they’re thrown a curve ball… Although, that in itself would make it even more interesting 🙂

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