Rocky Horror Show: Don't Just Dream It, Be It!

Brad (Charlie Gagnon) shares his discomfort with Dr. Scott (Dan Wehncke) as Janet (Kate Connelly) faces off with Rocky (Damien Dane), while Riff Raff (Jesse Romano) and Magenta (Tiffany Hill) delight in the drama.
KENDRA MURPHY - Brad (Charlie Gagnon) shares his discomfort with Dr. Scott (Dan Wehncke) as Janet (Kate Connelly) faces off with Rocky (Damien Dane), while Riff Raff (Jesse Romano) and Magenta (Tiffany Hill) delight in the drama.

The young actors in Cape Cod Community College’s production of The Rocky Horror Show deserve props for their bravery. To remember lines—never mind, act—while a platoon of hecklers fires comebacks at the stage is applause worthy in itself.

For those that don’t know, The Rocky Horror Show is a campy, X–rated musical spoofing Frankenstein and B horror movies with actors in the audience ridiculing the play as it unfolds. It’s like a live and in-your-face Mystery Science Theatre 3000, pumped full of sex, hormones, transvestites, whores and gore.

Role play

There is a definite amateur quality to the College’s production. Whether that’s purposeful or not, I’m unaware, but it makes the experience all the more entertaining.

If you go...

The Rocky Horror Show

Performances Thursday through Saturdays, March 29 to April 14 at 8 PM

Cape Cod Community College
Tilden Arts Studio Theater
2240 Iyannough Road
West Barnstable

Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for the college’s faculty, staff and students.

Students can buy one, get one free on April 5 and 12!

For tickets, call the box office at (508) 362-2131, extension 4044.

Damien Dane playing the naïve Rocky was a perfect example: as he was chased around the theatre by a pack of horny mongrels, he couldn’t help but laugh. In any professional setting besides SNL he’d probably get the axe, but in the Tilden Arts Center it worked.

Adlibs from the peanut gallery of actors, combined with this amateur quality, made the show a quirky one. One of the biggest laughs of the night (and much to the chagrin to the families in attendance) an actor in the audience screamed out for the narrator to describe his balls.

The absurdity of the request—and, for that matter, the entire production—begs the viewer to question their comfort factor: Is Cape Cod ready for such a happening?

The audience, at least on opening night, gets a C-. Where was the enthusiasm? There was a great opportunity to unload rolls of toilet paper, but only two limp rolls hit the stage on the cue. My suggestion would be to lower the ticket price for students—or, if you decide to go, loosen up a little before hand with a couple spirits. Rocky Horror is for rambunctious folk, after all. 

Highlights and lowlifes

To be fair to the Thursday night audience, there were moments where the production failed to encourage the crowd. Lackluster might be a word to describe some scenes, mainly the opening.

Still, there were great aspects. Keirnon James McDermott was a natural as the lead Frank’n Furter, an androgynous, bisexual, horny mad scientist. McDermott played a Bowie-esque impersonation of the part: goofy yet creepy, horrid yet likeable. His movements in the drag apparel made all the boys and girls in the audience giddy, a highlight of the show.

Another great acting and casting job was for a lead role of Brad, played by the squeamish Charlie Gagnon. Gagnon’s impersonating was straight out of Back to the Future: a truly uptight but trying to be cool 1950s square. As the show progresses and Brad is deflowered and enlightened on a few subjects, Gagnon is still his nerdy self, but yields a darker, more schizophrenic side—a believable outcome, considering his recent trip.

Overall, minus a couple lagging moments, the play was a whacky hoot. Go for the absurdity of it, but make sure to get a little weird beforehand—and don’t be afraid to improv with the Rocky Horror freaks around you.

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