Firehouse Theatre’s production of Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Show,” directed by Jase Smith, is filled with sexy lingerie, fabulous singing, fierce dance numbers and one very sweet transvestite.
Joy Newsome stars as Magenta and starts off the show with an attention grabbing opening number and a powerful voice that gives you goose bumps. Michael Hawke, a personal favorite of mine from “The Liar,” is featured as the host/narrator and is yet again supremely charming. Hawke’s ability to fully transform into the character he’s playing astounds me — at first I didn’t even recognize him.
The narrator soon introduces us to poor Brad and Janet, played by Nick Shackleford and Aly Wepplo, who are stranded and just want to use the phone at Dr. Frank N. Furter’s Castle. The naïve couple has no idea what they have just walked into.
Greeted by Frank N. Furter’s henchman, Riff Raff, played by Nicholas Aliff, Brad and Janet become virtual prisoners of these eccentric Transylvanians who inhabit the Castle and the wildest night of their lives ensues.
Dr. Frank N. Furter is played by Terence Sullivan, and there are no words. As Frank, Sullivan exudes a level of fabulousness comparable to Tim Curry himself. I personally counted down the minutes until he would appear on stage again to rock my world.
Maggie Horan, who has created quite a buzz in the local theatre community, is featured as Dr. Frank N. Furter’s first love, Columbia. Horan is adorable, as well as a very talented character actor and dancer, who’s light really shines on stage. Jilted and replaced by Frank’s “creation” Rocky, played by Chris Hester, Columbia is having trouble dealing with Frank’s ever evolving dark side.
Aside from some minor set and mic problems, this show is a must see. And producing a show that has such a grand reputation is no easy feat. The music, directed by Leilani Giles, is fantastic, fun and dynamic — a perfect highlight to the show’s action, with some unexpected modern elements mixed in, much to my delight.
“The Rocky Horror Show” is playing at Firehouse through August 19. www.firehousetheatre.org
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.