Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rocky Horror Comes to Luke

by Pa Rock
Theatre Fan

A few months ago my youngest son and I saw something on television involving Susan Sarandon.  I turned to him and inquired, "Best Susan Sarandon movie ever?"  Tim, who is no stranger to the movie business or movies in general, didn't miss a beat.  "Well," he said, "knowing you, it must be The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Dammit, Janet!

Yes, Tim does know me well.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a great movie - one that I am sure Susan Sarandon is pleased to have on her list of credits.   And while I have never been to one of the infamous midnight showings, I have owned a copy of the movie at various times in my life and viewed it a couple of times on television, so I know the story and the music.  The movie is always a fun experience.

That is why I was so happy to hear that the Luke Experience, our local little theatre group, was bringing this somewhat controversial musical to Luke Air Force Base.  I was anxious to see how the group handled the material -  which is challenging on several levels.

It would be difficult to adequately describe this story to someone who has not seen it previously, but it is the basically the tale of a young engaged couple, Brad and Janet, who have a blow-out on a lonely road during a thunderstorm.  They walk a few miles to a castle where they ask to come inside and use the phone   The castle belongs to Dr. Frankenfurter, a cross-dressing transexual who is having a party to celebrate the "birth" of a handsome young man that he has just created in his laboratory - primarily for his own personal pleasure.  The doctor's muscled creation, Rocky, joins the doctor and his friends, as well as Brad and Janet, for a night of strange escapades in the old castle - all of which involve song and dance.

And throughout much of the production, the major male characters are dressed in flashy, trashy drag.

Rocky Horror would be a challenge for a seasoned, professional acting company, but somehow the small ensemble of the Luke Experience rose to the challenge and pulled it off skillfully and professionally.    Two of the actors in particular demonstrated a strong stage presence.  Chris Ceroni, as Dr. Frankenfurter,  and Mitchell Bruner as Riff Raff, the butler,  both transformed into their quirky characters with seeming ease and believability.  

Other good performances were turned in by Linda Johnson as the narrator, Daniel Calderon as Brad, Laurie Snyder as Janet, Carissa Latham as Magenta, Lacey Quattlebaum (the director) as Columbia, Amanda Armstrong as Dr. Scott, Curtis Sproul as Eddy, and Ron Fantasia as Rocky.

The secret to making this production successful appeared to be that the cast and crew were focused on having fun.    They did an exceptionally fine job with this play - a production so nice I saw it twice!

Good work, guys!

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