In 1913 Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” debuted in Paris, and the audience went wild, yelling over the music, booing, and turning on each other: the shock of the new.
On Friday night Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Show” premiered at 427 Franklin St., and the audience yelled at the performers, waved glow sticks, and threw various objects at the stage: business as usual.
Oh, there was a moment on Friday when true SLOC shock stunned the crowd, at least those of us of a certain age who had never seen oral sex simulated (porno)graphically on stage before. However, the scene was at the top of Act II, and by that time we had witnessed so much twerking that we were almost inured to such naughtiness.
’Rocky Horror Show’
WHERE: Schenectady Light Opera Company, 427 Franklin St., Schenectady
WHEN: Through Oct. 19
HOW MUCH: $28-$18
MORE INFO: 877-350-7378, sloctheater.org
For those in the know — that is, devotees of what has become known as a “cult classic” — the musical is receiving an all-hands-on-deck-or-somewhere-on-the-body treatment, under the sweet lash of director Michael Gatzendorfer, and you might find yourself standing and swaying at the end of the evening while the cast sings and dances to “The Time Warp.” (Those in the know, by the way, include those same folks of a certain age who tittered at the 1975 movie version decades ago, and many were in the crowd.)
For those not in the know, you might think you have landed on a different planet instead of Franklin Street. Nearly so. The script is, as Gatzendorfer says in his director’s note, a “humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror movies of the late 1940s through the early 1970s,” though “humorous” is a matter of taste, and I have to say that “goofy” or “strained” might be a better word.
In any case, Frank N. Furter (Nik Gatzendorfer) has arrived here from the planet Transsexual and lives in a castle with various minions (lovers).
One dark and stormy night gee-whiz Brad (Brendan Brierley) and his gee-whiz fiancée, Janet (Jennifer Lefsyk), show up after their car breaks down. The innocents become swept up in Frank’s sexual shenanigans, whose cavorters include a hunky monster (David Cerutti), aides-de-camp Riff Raff (Nick Muscatiello) and Magenta (Jennifer Meglino), and spurned paramours Eddie (Patrick Reilly) and Columbia (Jordan Fyvie).
It’s a big event in all respects, replete with video, tricky lighting and sound effects, packed song-and-dance numbers (choreography by Gregory Theodore Marsh, musical direction by Bruce Holden), with a clever by set by Sharon C. Wemple and titillating costumes by Debbie Lummis. Running commentary on this bizarre story by aficionados in the audience is encouraged, and sometimes the cracks are genuinely amusing. You can also buy a prop kit for $5 and fire away.
The music is energetic but vacuous, but Lefsyk, Brierley, and Cerutti nail their numbers and act with aplomb. A special nod goes out to Brierley’s “Once in a While.”
The ensemble is young, lithe, lusty-voiced, and devoted to silliness. And as a Transsexual Transylvanian whack-job and visionary, Nik Gatzendorfer, in a tour de force performance, magnificently struts and frets Frank’s two hours upon the stage, ending with a touching “Rose Tint My World” and “I’m Going Home.”