“It’s just a jump to the left . . . and then a step to the riiiight!” That iconic quote from the song “Time Warp” of The Rocky Horror Show is what I caught myself signing as I sat down to write this review. The mark of any great musical performance is how you have the audience feeling and most certainly singing as they leave the theater. Director Kristofer Kauff and The Little Theatre of Alexandria undoubtedly hit the mark in their current production of the legendary rock musical.
The Rocky Horror Show is renowned for risqué costumes and over the top movement and choreography. This production is no exception. It is easy to go too over the top with the looks, but Costume Designers Jean Schlichting and Kit Sibley perfect the wardrobe of the players, I particularly appreciated the costumes of Magenta (Paige Taylor) and Columbia (Allie Cesena). Taylor was not adorned in the typical maid outfit, instead she had a steam punk look with short purple skirt and corset, Cesena wore brightly colored shorts and a coat and tails with the recognizable lightning bolts, fitting for the more spirited of the ghoulish characters. Special kudos to Set Painter Diedre Nicholson Lamb for her fine work.
Kauff working with Choreographer Stefan Sittig designed simple yet effective movement throughout the show. Some of the more fun numbers were “Sweet Transvestite” and “Floorshow/Rose Tint My World,’ and Kauff and Sittig staged them with the right mix of humor, beauty, and the raunchiness one would expect in The Rocky Horror Show. “Floorshow/Rose Tint My World” also gives Allie Cesena as Columbia a chance to shine with her incredible rock style mezzo-soprano belt.
Also impressive are Melissa Berkowitz as Janet and Adam Newland as Brad – the unsuspecting newly engaged sweethearts who happen upon an old castle that’s inhabited by the supernatural transvestite Frank-N-Furter (Patrick M. Doneghy) and his gang of phantoms, servants and groupies. Berkowitz is charming as the demure Janet. She has a pretty soprano singing voice and is lovely in the role, and her rendition of “Toucha Toucha Touch Me” although more restrained than might be expected, was excellent. Newland is flawlessly awkward as the credulous Brad, he moves us through the story effortlessly as the ill-fated protagonist.
As the incestuous sibling servants of Frank-N-Furter, Magenta and Riff-Raff we have the stunning Paige Taylor and eclectic Matt Liptak respectively. Both are standout performers in a exceptional cast. Taylor embodies the raw sex appeal required for Magenta, with a strong alto/mezzo belt to match. Her solo performances in “Science Fiction Double Feature” and “Time Warp” are remarkable. Equally talented Is Matt Liptak who is eerily unnatural as the creepy butler, and provides equally exciting rock style vocals.
The showstopper of the evening has to be Patrick M. Doneghy as Frank-N-Furter. Doneghy is a powerhouse on stage. From his feisty rendering of “Sweet Transvestite” to his sultry solo in “I’m Going Home,” Doneghy is a powerhouse on stage. It is easy to fall in to the trap of replicating the performance of Tim Curry in the well-known movie version of the character, but Doneghy takes ownership of the role in his portrayal of the outrageous villain.
Other notable performances come from Malcom Lee as Eddie/Dr. Scott, Ricardo Coleman as Rocky and the Narrator, Richard Fiske. Lee is exceptional in both roles; he exudes energy as he bounded about the stage in “Hot Patootie” and gives some of the comedic moments with his animated portrayal of Dr. Scott. Coleman as Rocky is also very fun to watch, I give kudos to any actor willing to perform in tight gold undershorts and Coleman does so with confidence! He is well cast as the Frankenstein-esqe creation and has a crisp baritone voice. He’s a lot of fun to watch as he leaps off of the laboratory table into singing “The Sword of Domocles.” Finally, there is Fiske as the Narrator, Fiske portrays a traditional style narrator with a fun twist, the details for which should be seen to believe. Throughout the show, Fiske provides some comedic moments with his dead-pan depiction.
I would be remiss not to mention Musical Director and conductor Christopher A. Tomasino, Tomasino leads the talented Rocky Horror Band with ease. The musicians seamlessly flow through the songs and provide outstanding accompaniment to the players throughout the show.
Director Kristofer Kauff and his cast have produced a superb piece of artistry from top to bottom in The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s fun production of The Rocky Horror Show. It is likely that this show will sell out, so hurry up and grab your tickets while they last.
Running time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.