Around this time of year, those attached to a certain ’70s cult classic film can be found painting their lips ruby red, pulling up those fishnet stockings, and packing their bags full of the essential props.
There’s the rice, the newspaper, water pistol, toast, rubber gloves, noisemaker, toilet paper, and the list goes on.
Then there’s the songs and extra dialogue shouted out by the audience, some of which we cannot print here, that is essential to any screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Those who have participated in the science fiction, double feature, or those who have never dared, can enter the time warp when the stage musical the film is based on is presented at the Interior Provincial Exhibition’s horticultural building in Armstrong next week.
Yep, you read that right, in Armstrong.
Presented by the Okanagan’s newest theatre company, Big Apple Productions, who presented Honk! The Musical in Vernon this past spring, The Rocky Horror Show features a locally based and scantily clad cast, including a corseted, fish-netted, and wigged-out Brian Martin, morning show host at Sun FM, as the sweet transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania.
“Playing the iconic role of Frank-N-Furter has been a chance for me to do something I never thought I could do, besides wearing fishnets and a leather corset in front of a thousand people,” said Martin. “The cast has become a family. We all support each other as we are doing these crazy things in the name of great theatre. And I think I look pretty fabulous in drag.”
What began as an experimental production at London’s Royal Court Theatre in June, 1973, has gone on to become a massive underground hit and international pop culture phenomenon.
Written by Richard O’Brien, who played Riff Raff in both the stage and film version of RHPS, the musical is an outrageous assemblage of the most stereotyped science fiction movies, Marvel comics, Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello outings and rock n’ roll of every vintage.
(Some trivia: The late Christopher Malcolm, who grew up in Vernon and was son to Powerhouse Theatre founding member Paddy Malcolm English, starred as Brad Majors in the original stage production of The Rocky Horror Show in London.)
This local production is produced by Big Apple founder Melina Moore, who also serves as the show’s musical director, and is directed by Kelowna’s Neal Facey.
“Nothing thrills me more than bringing a classic to our community for the first time. Yes, the content is risqué and out there, but that’s what great theatre does: it pushes us past our comfort zones,” said Moore.
Vicki Proulx and Craig Howard play the virginal couple Janet and Brad, who find themselves lost on a cold, rainy night.
The madcap, musical mayhem begins when the couple takes refuge in the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite who is hosting the annual convention of visitors from the planet Transsexual. Frank-N-Furter unveils his creation, a muscular young man in gold briefs named Rocky Horror (Don Cecile), who fears the doctor and rejects his advances.
When Frank-N-Furter announces that he is returning to the galaxy Transylvania, Riff Raff, the butler (Michael Gairns), his sister Magenta, the maid (Susan Evans), and Columbia, a groupie (Tanya Lipscomb), declare that they have plans of their own.
The show’s star-studded cast also includes the local talents of Judy Rose (Usherette), Peter Byrnes (Narrator), Alexander Patterson (Eddie/Dr. Scott) and an ensemble of sensual, sinful Transylvanians.
“This cast embraces their roles like I’ve never seen. It’s one of those shows that’s become pure magic. It’s brought out the best in everyone, and has been a road to self discovery for many of them,” said Moore.
Besides those taking the stage, Moore has also assembled what she calls the ultimate dream production team, including choreographer Lisa Schofield of Diversity Dance, costume designer Sue Gairns, set designer Jo Dixon, lighting designer Jessika LaFramboise, Jessica Nicole Studio, providing hair and makeup, and live band Half a Quorum, who will perform those iconic sing-along-to tunes.
“From directing to choreography, costumes to set design, lighting to sound, and working with a live rock band, it’s really a joy,” said Moore.
In addition to the fun that will be taking place on stage, those who attend the production on Halloween night can see the film version of RHPS, when it is screened at midnight at the Centennial Theatre, located next to the IPE grounds in Armstrong.
(Costumes are encouraged, however, none of the props mentioned before will be allowed at the live shows, however, they are welcome at the midnight movie screening on Halloween.)
“Anyone who misses this production is missing history in the making,” said Moore.
The show opens Wednesday (preview night) and continues Thursday and Oct. 31. Tickets are available at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. All ticket holders may add on the midnight movie showing at time of purchase. Limited seating available. (Due to mature content, viewer discretion is advised.)