Review: Yee-haw! Lyric's ROCKY HORROR SHOW is bigger than Texas

2022's Texas-Sized Rocky Horror runs through October 30th at Lyric's Plaza Stage.

By: Oct. 09, 2022
Review: Yee-haw! Lyric's ROCKY HORROR SHOW is bigger than Texas
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Fans of Richard O'Brien's cult classic The Rocky Horror Show are in for a treat this Spooky Season. Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma brings back the production every three years, each time with a different stylized setting. 2022 is bigger and better with a Texas themed production, complete with the accents, the outfits, and the cowbell. Directed by Michael Baron, the cast and band come ready to play and take no prisoners along the way. It's a wild ride, even more so because of the unique staging. At its core, it's still the Rocky Horror you know and love, or love to hate, and it's worth the adventure of seeing it again.

The show opens with Matthew Alvin Brown, rocking a Joe Exotic look, and Gabriella Rae Jimenez, in her best trailer park garb, guiding the audience on necessary callbacks. Callbacks are part of the fun of Rocky Horror, and the more engaged the audience is, the wilder the experience becomes. Rocky Horror is truly interactive theatre. When the audience doesn't come to play, much like at the reviewed performance, the actors can struggle. They've trained and rehearsed to anticipate and work around the audience yelling at them throughout the evening. Without the response and callouts, it can lead to some awkward silences. Brown and Jimenez do justice to their charge of teaching the virgins what to say and when to say it, and the rest is up to us.

The Rocky Horror Show was written as an homage and a parody to the Science Fiction of yesteryear, when dialogue was cheesy and plots were predictable. The genius of Rocky Horror is that it's all of those things, while also being mind-blowingly confusing, raunchy to a fault, unabashedly sexual, and just a damn good time. There's a sincerity and message of acceptance buried under all the weirdness, and above all, there's a nostalgia to the iconic scenes and characters. This nostalgia is the magical spark that keeps fans coming back to it again and again.

When All-American couple Brad and Janet get caught with a flat tire in a rainstorm, they seek refuge in a dark and spooky castle. Everyone knows castles don't have telephones, but Brad is just dumb enough to not realize that, and he drags his "innocent" fiancé into the den of the ultimate lioness. Inside the mansion, the couple meets a creepy (yet sexy) doorman, a savage group of dancing phantoms, some gun toting aliens, an undead motorcyclist, a Nazi, and of course, the sweetest transvestite doctor you've ever seen. Along the way, they discover things about themselves and each other that are nothing short of revolutionary.

The legendary, incomparable Dr. Frank-N-Furter is portrayed by a newcomer to the Lyric Theatre Stage. Lee Walter is sassy and sharp in this role, and they command the stage in a haze of leather and lipstick. Logan Corley as Brad and Sadie Koopman as his fiancé Janet are perfectly innocent... until they're not. Both make strong showings, embracing the wicked and weird about the show and their characters. Matthew Alvin Brown channels O'Brien perfectly as Riff-Raff, sounding exactly like him in the famous "hellooo..." greeting. Brown brings an otherworldly charm and sex-appeal to the would-be villain.

Completing Frank's band of ghoulish minions is Gabriella Rae Jimenez as Magenta and Emily J. Pace as Columbia. Jimenez is loyal and devoted to Frank, while Pace is rebellious and pouty (in a cute way) as the bratty Columbia. None of the performers are afraid to get naughty, and Jimenez and Pace have some of the most sultry and alluring moves.

The phantoms are equally as provocative and dynamic, and thanks to the fearless choreography by Kaylene Snarsky, they're quite noticeable. The phantoms are portrayed by Kat Metcalfe, Mariah Warren, Sheridan McMichael, and Caleb A. Barnett. They own each moment and leave the audience feeling some kind of way.

Joshua Morgan Thompson as Rocky Horror is as loveable as he is dumb. Frank's perfect male specimen, Rocky wants nothing more than to become a real boy, and to be seen as more than the sum of his oh-so tanned parts.

Mario Matthews is sympathetic as poor Eddie, and hate-worthy indeed as Dr. Scott. Great Scott! No surprise here, Lyn Cramer steals the entire thing as the Narrator/Sexiest Grandma Alive.

The band comes to rock with hillbilly flair and is led by Music Director Brian Hamilton. Jay Gleason is on guitar, Clinton Trench on bass, Roger Owens on drums, and Shawna Kennedy on fiddle. Subs are Mary Brozina Wierick as keyboard sub, Michael Mosteller as drums sub, Than Medlam as guitar/bass sub, and Janice Frillman as fiddler sub.

Rocky Horror will never win a Tony Award, or be entered into the Serious Theatre Patron's Most Thought-Provoking and Deeply Meaningful Hall of Fame. But let's save all that for next season. We've been through two years of social distancing, masking, and pandemics, and we barely survived this latest political cycle. Can't we just have some fun sometimes? As Brad Majors would say, that asshole, "There's nothing to worry about, Janet."


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