Theater Review—The Rocky Horror Show
The ever popular sexy (and campy) British musical comes to the Esplanade. So yes, it's time to do the Time Warp.

By Zaki Jufri | Jan 06, 2011

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  • Theater Review—The Rocky Horror Show
  • Theater Review—The Rocky Horror Show
  • Theater Review—The Rocky Horror Show
  • Theater Review—The Rocky Horror Show

Welcome to the Time Warp—one that transports you back Doctor Who style into a 70s B-grade campy schlock fest with thrusting pelvises, corsets and fish-nets.

Yes. The Rocky Horror Show is in town. With the film adaptation of the original theater production banned for three decades, it is no surprise that the opening night of this controversial stage musical elicited much curiosity among the theater/musical-going folk. Some were game enough to dress the part and came decked in makeup, wigs and, yes, fish-nets.

It's the classic American love story: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl set off to celebrate their engagement, and their car tire explodes. It’s raining and they need a phone … There’s a castle. Little do they know that the castle belongs to the ‘sweet transvestite’ and decadent Transylvanian master Frank ‘N’ Furter―played superbly by Juan Jackson―who has imagined, sculpted and brought to life his very own man: Rocky (Lucas Glover).

The highly professional cast delivered an excellent performance and the powerful voices of Jackson as Frank-N-Furter and Richard Meek as Brad lend an operatic quality to the show's big production numbers.

The Narrator (which changes at every venue) here is local comedian and actor Hossan Leong who appeared clunky throughout. Leong, who has helmed several of his own theatrical productions, stood out like a minnow among the main cast whose vocal prowess obviously surpasses his. He also looks like he’s reading off a script on the flimsy book that he’s lugging around. At times, Leong spews script like a locomotive; that is just hard to follow. Missing is the interactivity between The Narrator and the audience—Leong only managed to elicit a few audience comebacks and heckles at the start. That this is the first time Singaporean audiences are experiencing the Rocky Horror might be an excuse.

The highlight of director Christopher Luscombe’s production is certainly the opening of Act II. The same sex scene is played out consecutively, first with Janet (Haley Flaherty), then Brad, both of whom give in to their sexual desires, never fulfilled before meeting Frank ‘N’ Furter. The message of sexual liberation however does seem a bit dated in our day and age when gay culture and sex are coming out into the open.

Janet Bird's witty set design is on point—a keen homage to the lo-fi, low budget B-movies of the era cleverly using shadow play and perspective to draw you in. The risqué and very funny scene at the start of Act II is also well designed—the best use of an upright bed since Hairspray. Similarly, the costumes (by Sue Blane) are fabulous—and Juan Jackson looks particularly glam throughout.

Janet Bird's witty set design is on point—a keen homage to the lo-fi, low budget B-movies of the era cleverly using shadow play and perspective to draw you in. The risqué and very funny scene at the start of Act II is also well designed– the best use of an upright bed since Hairspray. The costumes (by Sue Blane) are fabulous as well—and Jackson looks particularly glam throughout.

There is no doubt that The Rocky Horror Show has a devoted, cult following, but it hits the spot for audiences coming at it afresh just as successfully.

Freaky, fun and flirtatious, this (very campy) horror-musical-comedy is an utterly enjoyable night for all.

Catch the show through Jan 16, 3pm, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Dr., 6828-8377. $68-148 from Sistic.

 

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