by Lorie Lewis Ham
I have to admit that I am one of the few remaining people left one earth that has never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie. I’d seen snippets of it and saw parts of the show on Glee and it really just didn’t appeal to me. But when I saw that the musical was going to be on stage in Fresno presented by Artists’ Repertory Theater, and noticed that some of my new favorite local actors would be in it, I decided to take the plunge and go, and boy am I glad I did!Let’s see if I can explain the basic plot–this show is kind of a spoof of the old silly 50s sci-fi movies that my husband loves. Typical young boy and girl, newly engaged, break down on the side of the road–Brad (Bryce Moser) and Janet (Alexis Garriott). They go to an old castle looking to use the phone and their life is never the same again. A very gothic, unusual looking butler/handyman, Riff Raff (Brian Pucheu) greets them at the door, along with a host of characters that look like a cross between gothic and saloon singers in the old west. Finally, they meet the master of the house, Dr. Frank’N'Furter (Daniel Chavez Jr.), who is almost beyond description. He is a cross dressing, over the top character played beautifully by Daniel, who also directs the show. Frank’N'Furter is a mad scientist of the 50s sci-fi variety with a different sort of twist, he is trying to make for himself the perfect man–enter now Rocky Horror (Javier Padilla).
The story goes through many twists and turns, with a fitting ending for an old sci-fi spoof. Everything about this show is over the top and fun–even the pre-show! You can even get a grab bag before the show and participate, purchase popcorn and soda at intermission, much of the cast ends up in the audience at various times, you are encouraged to cheer and yell, and you may even find yourself on stage doing the song that even I came into this knowing, “The Time Warp”.
Everyone in this show did a wonderful job acting, singing, dancing and had incredible costumes–but there were definite standouts! Daniel was just amazing–incredibly funny and a beautiful voice. Brian Pucheu may now be an actor I seek out to see on stage (he’s going to be Roger in Cali Pub Theater’s production of Rent this December). What a voice! And I was already in love with the acting and singing of young Bryce, and Cody Bianchi who is in the ensemble. Alexis also has a lovely voice–well basically everyone in this was good or great! I also have to tip my hat to Daniel as a director as well. I’ve learned over the past few years that a good director can make a show and to direct and be in such a major role in the show as well is quite the task–kudos! And the band was awesome!
I do have to warn that this show is raunchy and earns its R Rating, and there are bits of nudity in it (male butts), so if this bothers you don’t go. But if you are up for a ton of fun, hilarity and some great singing, go! This is without a doubt one of the funnest shows I’ve ever seen!
Rocky Horror Show can be seen at Cal Arts Academy Severance Theater in the Tower, 1401 N. Wishon, Fresno. The show runs through November 24 with a special Halloween night performance tonight! What better way to spend your Halloween! You can learn more details on their KRL event page.