Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance presents ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ just in time for Halloween
This past Sunday, to escape the dreary rain, I went to the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance’s production of the beloved cult classic “The Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O’Brien. The first time I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I was staying up late, probably on a school night, in seventh-grade, with my eyes glued to the VH1 Classic channel. I remember binge-watching “Pop-up Video,” and just as I was about to slide off into dreamland, I saw a pair of big red lips start singing, “science fiction…” For an hour and a half, I couldn’t take my eyes off the T.V. set. Because of my teenage angst, sexual confusion and gothic flair, I was drawn in and unable to look away, which I can proudly say the same from the performance by the cast of WSTA.
I had never seen the live play version of Rocky Horror, but I did recently go to a shadow cast performance for the first time a couple months ago. (Funny story, none of the cast members showed up for the movie, so my friend Andy and I hammed it up as surprise understudies- I was Janet, and Andy was Frank N Further, of course.) The audience participation took me by surprise because I didn’t realize it was apart of the show. (Let’s just say I wasn’t too keen on the Janet slut-shaming at first.) The WSTA’s production had audience participation, but it wasn’t obnoxious, and it didn’t get old.
I am still not 100% sure what all one is supposed to say or do during the show, but I did pick up that every time Brad’s name was mentioned, the audience screams, “asshole!” And when Janet’s name was mentioned, everyone yells “slut!” Which had me in stitches most of the time. My favorite part of the audience participation, though, was at the end when the cast came into the audience and encouraged us to do the Time Warp. (During the first Time Warp number, I was doing everything I could to stay in my seat and not get up and dance!)
The weather didn’t put a damper on the performers; if anything, it seemed to make them act campier and be in sync with one another. Just as he did in “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” Gray Smith’s performance of Frank N Furter carried the production to new heights and made it a delightful show. Smith did a phenomenal job channeling the over-the-top Tim Curry charm and camp. One of my favorite performances came from Suzanne Vaughan’s Magenta because I thought her voice was beautiful, and her facial expressions were always exaggerated and entertaining to watch, especially from the back row! The ensemble cast really stood out for all the right reasons, and they all deserve gold stars for staying in character and making the scene transitions seamless.
All the costumes were thoughtfully detailed, and the entire cast was killing it in their corsets. I thought the set design was clever with the elevated rooms and how those spots were utilized during the show. I also thought that the integration of some of the images from the movie added a neat twist and, overall, elevated the performance without it being used as a crutch to keep the audience engaged, and the cast had no problem in that department. The live band playing each song was the coolest aspect of the play; in my opinion, there is just something special about hearing a live score.
Give yourself over to absolute pleasure, and catch the WSTA’s production of The Rocky Horror Show before it’s over!
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.
Showtimes are Oct. 16-19, 23-26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 20, 27 at 2 p.m. The WSTA is located at 1047 Northwest Blvd. in Winston-Salem.