If you are into corsets, fishnets, glitter, high heels, bold makeup, sexual innuendo and cussing as art, Wolf Pack Theatre Company’s (WPTC) rendition of Richard O’Brien’s cult classic Rocky Horror Show is the place for you.
With Rocky Horror, you’re not just a viewer of the performance, you are a part of it. As you sign in, you are given a bag full of goodies to interact with the cast during certain parts of the play. The audience was not told what items are for what part or when to call out profanities at the main characters. That was left to the Phantoms (Rachel Sharp and Jamie Brill).
The storyline is simple as it parodies 1950s horror films with some gender-bending twists. A newly engaged couple, Brad Majors (Zack Walsh) and Janet Weiss (Liz Colandene), are on their way to see Dr. Scott (McKenna Gervase Kelly). After suffering a flat tire on a rainy night, the couple seeks a telephone. The first building they come to is Frank ‘N’ Furter’s (Kenneth Lautz) castle. Once there, the couple is metamorphosed into lusty, sexual beings they never imagined they could be.
Lautz is astonishing as Frank ‘N’ Furter. He can sing, he can dance and his acting varies from sweet overlord to nasty dictator in numbers like “Sweet Transvestite.” His scenes, including those behind a screen seducing Brad and Janet, were tastefully done.
Of course, Frank’s able assistant Riff-Raff (Jon Townson) has helped Furter create the perfect male body – Rocky (Alexander Bruce Gordon), Magenta (Melanie Kurstin) and Columbia (Miranda Austin Tharp) conquer their roles as the other aliens. Narrator (David Weintraub) and Usherette (Jessica Cooperstock) add color and keep the story moving. The performers were cast without adhering to gender identity or sexual orientation. The multitalented Cooperstock appeared in many of the song-and-dance numbers.
Opening night went off without a hitch. The performers, like the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals who were playing during this production, had fun and it showed. Director William Leary and Stephen Beitzell, who handled technical direction and special effects, deserve acknowledgment for making the production look so easy. Michael Reeher and Rebecca Overly’s costumes were out of this world.
Choreographer Alex Sands’ masterful touch was evident in the numerous numbers throughout the musical. Columbia’s tap dance during “Time Warp” was captivating. Lautz doubled as musical director and pit conductor Jennifer Quilty’s orchestra presented 19 numbers brilliantly.
This reviewer entered the scene as a Rocky virgin but left the musical a fan of the troupe. I also left with some fun goodies including cards, a kazoo, newspaper, and rice. I used the newspaper and would have used the rice if I had found the right time.
WPTC, Community Crisis Services, Inc. (CCSI) and Microsoft Corp. produced this production. The October performances were fundraisers for CCSI, formerly Prince George’s County Hotline. WPTC expected to raise $2,500 for LGBTQ+ suicide prevention/intervention efforts.
Good fun for a good cause? Let’s do the timewarp again!
Running Time: 2 hours, with a 15-minute intermission.