For five years, it’s carved its way into naughty North Okanagan tradition.
And, while it may be taking the stage for the fifth and final time Oct. 17-28 at O’Keefe Ranch, cast and crew of Big Apple Productions’ rendition of the Rocky Horror Show promise to make it the raunchiest performance to date.
“We’ve worked hard to establish a dedicated following for this show. We have more community support than we’ve ever had before. It’s really heartwarming that it’s developed such a following,” said Melina Schein of Big Apple Productions and Valley Vocal Arts. “Five years is a good time for a break. You should always leave the audience wanting more.”
Schein said that the Halloween show won’t stop after Rocky, but rather open up to introduce North Okanagan audiences to other hallowed favourites. But, before Big Apple Productions gets to that stage, Schein said they’re gearing up for a no-holds-barred telling of Richard O’Brien’s 1973 subversive and humorous homage to science-fiction and horror B flicks of the previous decades.
Set largely in the gothic palace of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Brian Martin), The Rocky Horror Show follows the trials and tribulations of a young couple, Brad Majors (Craig Howard) and Janet Weiss (Melaney Campbell), as they attempt to survive Furter’s undeniable, if rather risque, influence.
As the night wears on, Furter’s followers Magenta (Keyanna Burgher), Riff Raff (Harrison Coe) and Columbia (Amelia Sirianni) enter the frame alongside the doctor’s prized possession, Rocky (Richard Chippendale).
Full of intentional horror B movie tropes, The Rocky Horror Show is a larger-than-life commentary on breaking down societal norms.
“I think it’s more relevant now than ever. People want to come to a place where they can really feel excited and let their freak flag fly,” Schein said. “There’s a message of tolerance. I think the world needs more of that now.”
Directed by Neal Facey, who has taken on Big Apple Production’s Rocky Horror Show since its inception, this year’s performance features many of the same, crowd-favourite lineup with Martin as the sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania; Howard as our figurative hero Majors; Campbell as, one of many, love interests Janet Weiss; Chippendale as the scantily-clad Frankenstein Rocky; Burgher as Magenta; Sirianni as Columbia and more.
New to the show this year is Coe, a professional actor and Toronto transplant who recently moved to Vernon with his wife and fellow professional actress Sirianni.
“This is the first show we’ve ever done together. As soon as Melina asked me to be Riff Raff, I was like, ‘I need to do this right now,’” Coe said. “I’ve been an actor for most of my life. Moving to Vernon and becoming involved with Valley Vocal Arts has been a great way to get back on stage.”
While he has spent the past few decades primarily working in film and TV, Coe said he is enthralled to be involved in live community theatre again.
“It’s so exciting to see talent emerging. Everyone gives their all. It’s great to be a part of it,” Coe said.
Sirianni, who will be donning the bright blue garb of Columbia for the second consecutive year, agreed.
“When you volunteer your time and this is your passion, there’s a different energy that comes from the group. I’m super excited. I think this year we’re more excited to get as naughty as we can get and pull out all the stops. My background is primarily musical theatre for kids, so it’s nice to have an adult audience and push it as far as you can,” Sirianni laughed.
“I love becoming a character that is something different than your regular self, especially on stage in front of people. It’s like Halloween on steroids.”
To keep the Halloween tradition fresh after five years of performances, Facey said this year will see jugglers, fire breathers and other pre-show entertainers.
“As a director, you always want to bring something new,” Facey said. “This just adds to the bedlam.”
Camillia Courts, who dons a nurse uniform as a phantom, has also re-choreographed a few numbers to bring new life to the piece, Facey said.
However, classic Rocky Horror Show unwritten law remains intact.
“Because this is a live show and not the movie, no props can be thrown at actors,” Schein said. “Instead, there will be prop bags so people can do traditional Rocky stuff.”
Wearing a tight leather vest and short shorts to cover what his fishnets and diva boots won’t, Martin has become a Rocky Horror Show staple over Big Apple Productions’ history.
“It’s going to be sad to see it go,” Martin said through thick and glittery makeup. “It’s just been so great how the community has embraced this show.”
But, before he hangs up the fishnets, Martin said he will push the envelope further than ever.
“The character has taken on so many more layers because I’m so comfortable in the role I can take more and more chances and see what pays off. I think, if I’m not too old, I would do it again,” Martin said.
“I can’t believe it’s come this far. I don’t even know what to say. I think it’s going to be emotional when it comes to an end.”
Tickets are available for $40 through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. Performances are Oct. 18-19 at 8 p.m., Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Oct. 25-26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Drinks before the show provided by The Italian Kitchen Company.