From Oct. 20-31, the Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC) is putting on a full production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” The production features Broadway actors as well as professional actors from Utah. “Rocky Horror” follows the story of Brad and Janet, a newly engaged couple who stumble upon the dwelling of alien-evil-scientist Frank-N-Furter. The story is irreverent, unpredictable, and eccentric.
Randall Carlisle, one of the PTC’s three rotating narrators for the show, spoke on his experience participating in this strange play with the UVU Review. “Even after seeing the show, you might not be sure you fully understand the story, for it’s such a bizarre chain of events,” said Carlisle. “If you told me to give you a 30-second sound bite to describe the plot of Rocky Horror, I couldn’t do it.”
Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the wacky occurrences of “Rocky Horror.” Luckily, the narrator is there to guide the audience through this strange journey. “I’m sort of an intermediary between the audience and the cast. It’s not a significant part of the show, but it is an integral part of the show,” Carlisle stated.
One of the best things about “Rocky Horror” is the audience participation. For example, audience members come dressed as their favorite characters; things such as hotdogs, toilet paper, and playing cards are thrown into the air after certain lines are uttered; and curse words are shouted at the narrator each time he mentions certain characters’ names.
Even audience members unfamiliar with these traditions are encouraged to participate; they are playfully singled out as “virgins,” which helps them to feel included. The PTC offers prop kits to audience members with specific instructions for how and when to use the props. This way, even “Rocky Horror” virgins can participate and enjoy the show along with the more experienced viewers.
During the month of October, many theatres show screenings of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” When asked why a viewer should choose to see the play rather than the movie, Carlisle said, “The play is entirely different than the movie. This lets you immerse yourself in the real show. The play is so real and so lively. You can’t help but get involved in the story.”
PTC’s production perfectly captures the essence of the film that fans know and love while adding many new layers that the low-production movie was not able to bring. The choreography was dazzlingly in sync and the flashy costumes were pleasing to the eye in the way they each blended so well together. The actors’ vocals blew the crowd away and their performances were invested, polished, and in character.
“Rocky Horror” is a cult, campy, masterpiece that reminds audience members not to take things so seriously. As Carlisle put it, “I think people should experience it because there’s so much negativity going on in the world. For two hours, you can escape the rest of the world and just enjoy this fantasy that has become a cult phenomenon since the mid-70s.” “Rocky Horror” really has become a safe haven for so many people in this world just looking for a place to belong, and the Pioneer Theatre Company does it justice like no other.
To get tickets, visit their website at pioneertheatre.org.
Braxtyn Birrell is a junior at UVU studying English with an emphasis in Writing Studies, while simultaneously earning the Editing and Document Design certificate. She is currently serving as a volunteer editor for the UVUReview, as well as Managing Editor for Touchstones Literary Journal and the Journal of Student Leadership. She is an avid appreciator of sunshine and daisies.