A rebooted Rocky Horror is playing onstage at Oasis, to time warp you back to the old midnight movie experience with an added meaty loaf of dirty drag humor.
Midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture show were a gateway drug to LGBTQ culture for generations of American youth, but these midnight movies are now pretty much extinct. The Clay Theatre was still screening Rocky Horror before the pandemic hit, but that theater is now permanently closed, with only a slight hope of reopening as a movie house. So it’s welcome Halloween season news to fans of the cult hit Frank-N-flick that local musical theater troupe Ray of Light Theatre is reanimating their production of Rocky Horror Show at the Oasis (October 7-31), complete with all the musical numbers, local drag circuit stars, and audience partici… pation.
It’s billed as a ”live, musical, immersive experience,” and the show does move around the Oasis premises with the cast mingling about the crowd. But this approach is more a social distancing measure so that the entire audience is not always in the same place at once. And there is still no way you can maintain six feet distance from others throughout this show. Sure, Oasis is strict about verifying everyone’s vaccination card at the door, and at Thursday night’s premiere, audience members really were pretty adherent at remaining masked except when drinking. But if you personally are not comfortable being indoors within six feet of strangers from other households, realize it will not be possible to maintain that distance at this show. (The same is true of BratPack at Feinstein's, which we reviewed last week.)
This being Oasis, impresario D’Arcy Drollinger takes the Tim Curry role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. It’s a departure from her typical dumb blonde schtick she’s perfected in Golden Girls and Shit & Champagne (which will be streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV on Tuesday!). But she doesn’t do a straight-up Tim Curry impersonation, and her range of wacky facial expressions adds a vaudevillian element to these proceedings. Just about every song from the soundtrack is remixed or re-orchestrated, so it is a refreshed and modernized Rocky Horror that does much more than just mimic the 1975 film.
And in this show, D’Arcy is really on the money!
But this is not a D’Arcy-driven vehicle, it's retooled as more of an ensemble piece with a whimsically devilish cast. Melinda Campero has a vastly better singing voice in the Janet role than Jill Stein acolyte Susan Sarandon ever did. Joe Greene gives the Riff Raff character a whole new voice and hairstyle, yet captures that creepy energy perfectly. You’ll recognize drag show regulars Carissa "Snaxx" Hatchel and Trixxie Carr as Columbia and Magenta, both outfitted so you can't take your eyes off them. Michael Phillis is a devious ringmaster to this whole thing billed simply as “Narrator,” and Kipp Glass is a buff carbon copy of the movie version of Rocky, in skin-tight hot pants that leave nothing to the imagination.
Rocky Horror Show is a terrific live musical romp that’s more than just in-jokes for fans of the film, and even Rocky Horror “virgins” will find it accessible and satisfying. This is Oasis, so there are going to be ass-eating jokes and other perversions added to the source material. but most of the additions are slapstick whimsy to rack up the gag count. And parenthetically, Oasis is serving an inspired set of theme cocktails that will certainly rose tint your world during the show.
Top Image: Alexander Belmont