“Let’s do the Time Warp again!” sang Dr. Frank N. Furter’s celebratory servants as a lost couple entered their castle. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” premiered at Adams Pool Theater on Feb. 17, taking the audience back to 1975, the year that saw the release of the unparalleled cult classic. The show is a science fiction Frankenstein musical to which audiences can laugh and sing along.
Directors Julia E. Belanoff ’18 and Patric C. Verrone ’18, who also played the leading role of cross-dressing castle owner Dr. Frank N. Furter, created an adaptation that hews closely to the original: Throughout the whole show, the actual movie runs in the background, with the onstage actors lip-synching and imitating their onscreen counterparts.
Of course, it would not be “Rocky Horror” if it did not engage the audience. Both staff and cast made sure that this was the case: Upon entering the theater, every guest received a party horn to celebrate the birth of Rocky, a newspaper to shield their head from the rain that poured down on Janet, and a rubber glove to snap just like Dr. Frank N. Furter did in the show. Before the play began, the storyteller (Julius Wade ’20) entered the stage and gave a humorous warm-up that set the peculiar mood for what was to come. Furthermore, the storyteller encouraged the audience to heckle (Brad routinely elicited “asshole” calls while Janet was called a “slut”), sing along, and dance as they wished. Conveniently, everyone received dancing lessons before the beginning of the musical—after all, it was just a jump to the left and a step to the ri-i-iiight.
The most memorable elements of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” were undoubtedly its songs. There was a lot of earworm potential there: “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” “The Time Warp,” “Damn it, Janet,” just to name a few. These catchy and well-known tunes alone made attending the show worth it. For the most part, the actors and actresses delivered skillful and very humorous musical performances. Unfortunately, however, the background film audio remained unmuted during dialogue scenes, causing a slightly irritating reverberation. For those who have watched the movie, Verrone’s embodiment of Dr. Frank N. Furter may have seemed a bit underwhelming compared to Tim Curry’s unique take on the role, but overall Verrone executed the demanding role well.
The minimalistic set design worked beautifully—a door, a wall, and a couch were all that was needed to bring Dr. Frank N. Furter’s castle to life. The actors made efficient use of the pool’s limited space, entering the theater through multiple entrances. The costumes were also immaculate: sometimes flashy, always true to the 70s. Coats, skirts, and suits paired with high heels, stockings, and corsets, resembling the scantily clad actors in the film.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Adams Pool Theater is just the right show to understand past generations’ obsession with a seemingly senseless flick. It carries on the legacy of the musical-turned-film (turned musical).The audience could sense the passion that both cast and staff have put into bringing this musical on stage as well as their willingness to share this feeling with the spectator (admission was free). The strengths of the show undoubtedly overrode its small imperfections. All in all, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” took its audience on a bizarre yet amusing trip that is best enjoyed like the original movie: slightly inebriated with a couple of good friends.