Lick it

Generally, my Sunday evenings do not involve simulated sex acts,tits and ass, transsexual aliens or doing the “time warp.” So I wasunprepared last Sunday when I walked into the bizarre world of theTheatre Art Students Organization’s Rocky Horror Show. Directed byArran Hersey, this production offers more flesh than a 400 lb.nudist, more stuffed tube socks than a Foot Locker outlet store andmore g-strings than a young man’s lonely dorm.

Aficionados of the midnight-movie cult classic should be warned:this is a live stage production. Hence the lack of “Picture” in thetitle. So no rice, bread, water guns or other missiles of pleasure.However, feel free to bring your cutting wit and mental catalogueof “talkback” lines, as the Rocky Horror tradition of audienceparticipation is encouraged.

For those uninitiated to the weirdness of Rocky Horror, let meoffer a brief synopsis. A young, wholesome couple find themselvestrapped in a castle of transvestites and sexual deviants. Sex,nudity, dancing, murder and rock ‘n’ roll gleefully ensue. Theplot, as written by Richard O’Brien (who played Riff Raff in the1975 film version), is simply a plate on which is served am�lange of passionate references to 1950s horror films,Steve Reeves muscle-movies and camp in all forms.

What is unique about the Theatre Art Students Organization’sproduction is that it is unique. The danger of immersing a group ofactors into O’Brians wicked script is that they often default tocharacter interpretations from the film, as created by Tim Curry,Susan Sarandon et. al. Fortunately, save for a few Curryesque lispsfrom Ryan Morey’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the cast has put their ownspin on the characters.

By far the most aggressive of these interpretations is MeganHeffernan’s inspired performance as Janet. With enormous flair andpresence, Heffernan injects her character with demented, good girlcharm. It is a pleasure to watch the misplaced melodrama heroineget stripped of her inhibitions and, subsequently, herclothing.

A similar example of new character interpretations is offered inDamon Millincan’s Riff Raff. Millincan plays the abused andscheming houseboy with an astute sense of comic timing. Hisbizarre, stiff legged Riff is a wonderful counterpart to the softlysex-soaked Frank-N-Furter.

It must be said that cast and crew has given their all for thisproduction and have proficiently overcome the limitations of theirperformance space. However, there are points where the performancefalls flat, specifically in the vocal department. Understand, thisproduction is a musical. Considering that some numbers areliterally painful to listen to and others difficult to hear, it mayhave served Mr. Hersey to focus more on the sound.

Additionally, the second act is not nearly as tight as thebodies of the cast. The energy seems to wain, even through theclimax of the floorshow. Though I had been adequately titillatedand entertained throughout, I was somewhat relieved to hear thefinal strains of the reprise, signaling the d�nouement.

All in all, the Theatre Art Students Organization has puttogether an energetic and perverted piece of theater that will morethan please anyone with a blood alcohol level of over .08%. You mayneed at least that much to do the “time warp.” Due to the fact thatI wasn’t drunk, the musical pleased me only mildly. Still, I wassmiling as I walked to my car.

I would suggest making a night of it. Hit the bar beforehandwith a couple of friends and then come and laugh and shout with thecrew. Besides, you are never going to see this much ass in ShattuckHall ever again.