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March 26, 2007

The Horror! The Horror!


Thanks once again to the legerdemain of the Sister of the Flea I was able to attend the midnight, opening night CanStage production of The Rocky Horror Show. I should for me the show was a hard sell. Thanks to upcoming renovations CanStage decided to stage Rocky Horror and trash the place on the way out but a subsequent engagement meant the old venue had to be preserved intact. This in turn meant restrictions on the fan participation non-virgins have come to expect. Rocky Horror with no rain and no toast seemed likely to be no Rocky Horror at all. No rice? No dice.

Then there is the small problem of attempting to re-stage perfection. So, how to remain faithful to the film (and the fan experience) while making it their own (and not destroying the theatre)? Director, Ted Dykstra explains.

"I'd like to think we've very consciously done both," he says. "We don't want to piss off the Rockyheads, but at the same time we want to remind them that this was a stage show before it was a movie." In fact, Dykstra declares he's "not very fond of going to the movie. The reason people started yelling at the movie was because it's so bad; then it became funny. But before anyone had seen it ten times, the comedy was actually funny in and of itself."

By trying to direct an interesting production of the original material, Dykstra says he hoped to come up with a show that didn't need radical audience participation to make it work. And in fact, in the pre-Toronto run in Winnipeg, the strategy seemed to work. "Even the Rockyheads forget about yelling, because they're actually intrigued by the story," Dykstra says. "When you're seeing it live, it's quite a different experience; it rocks very hard in certain places."

And it works. The show feels bigger live than on screen, paying tribute to the film we grew up with without being an empty pastiche (I am looking at you We Will Rock You). This is the best musical theatre I have ever seen. If it has ever crossed your mind to visit Toronto: This is the time.

Virgins may refer to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies for plot details. Now I am off to find some nipple glitter...

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 26, 2007 07:33 AM


Nipple glitter.

Toronto is not the only place in the world for Rocky shows. In fact, someone that you know has played the part of Columbia inside the belt buckle of the bible belt...

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 26, 2007 09:56 AM

Columbia is my favourite!!!

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 26, 2007 10:08 AM

For some reason the movie's magical powers don't work on me. But I can see how it would be improved by being a live stage show (well, as long as there is no Susan Sarandon).

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 26, 2007 06:21 PM

I enjoyed the production at Neptune here in Hali a few years back. Nothing thrown from the audience, of course, excepting, perhaps, a few leering gazes.

Posted by: The_Campblog [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 06:53 AM

Years ago, I saw an interview with Tim Curry where he pretty thoroughly trashed the movie. Tim started out playing Frank N. Furter in London, and he felt the movie had none of the magic of the stage show.

It doesn't help that I used to work at a theatre that did Rocky Horror revivals about three times a year. The movie wore out its welcome pretty quickly when it was part of my job. I'd still see a live production, though.

Posted by: utron [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 04:00 PM

Aw man, that takes me back... we'd go to the Coconut Grove Theater just about every weekend to see the movie. Had no idea what to do that Saturday night because you're stuck in Miami, Land of Disco, and you hate disco? Well, the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was there to save you. I don't know how they did it elsewhere, but this place always played these three music videos before the movie: "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band, Meatloaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" (complete with "will you give your throat to the wolf with the red roses" silly poetry opening), and Tim Curry doing "Paradise Garage" in twelve inch platforms.

Posted by: Andrea Harris [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2007 09:43 PM

I used to see Rocky Horror at the Theater of Living arts in Philadelphia. they would play the "will you give your throat to the wolf with the red roses" at the beginning. I am trying to find this on video so if someone know where I can get please let me know. thanks.

Posted by: debyduz [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 16, 2008 08:30 PM