BWW Review: ROCKY HORROR SHOW at Östgötateatern, Norrköping
Rocky Horror Show, Östgötateatern, Norrköping
The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien was first set up in London as a musical in 1973 and became a film in 1978. It is presented as a comic, bizarre, horror musical in the spirit of the glamrock and science fiction genre. And the word bizarre is probably the best word to describe this musical. It is absurd, bizarre and weird and sometimes you wonder what is it really is about. Is it good or bad? I really can't tell. One thing for sure is that it is not boring and the bizarre plot is fascinating somehow.
It was the first time I saw it and the only thing I knew about it was that is was different from most musicals. That it can be seen as a bit provocative and regarded as a cult musical. When I entered into the theatre and saw the audience, I reacted a to the fact that the middle age was quite high. Then I realized that most of them probably saw it back in the 70's and now wanted to see it again. And it was noticeable by the reactions by main part of the audience that they knew all about the odd characters in the musical.
The plot is about a young newly engaged couple, Tommy (David Sigfridsson) and Annika (Elin Skarin). Yes in this Swedish version they have named them after the siblings in the stories about Pippi Longstocking. As they are driving home their car have a flat tire, the rain is pouring down and they go to a nearby castle for help. There they are received by some very strange characters Riff Raff (Shirin Golchin) and Magenta (Andreas Österberg). The castle's ruler is the professor and transvestite Frank n Further (Camilo Ge Bresky). In the castle strange things happens and experiments are arranged by the professor. He has just created a new man, Rocky (Viktor Björkberg). The young couple have a night they never will forget. It is a lot about sexual liberation and free love as it was in the early 70's spirit.
To some extent, the plot has been updated to present-day with mobile phones that have no coverage in the storm, but the sexual view of the woman and the man remains from the 70's. Annika's sexual liberation is much more dramatized than Tommy's. Annika goes from saving her virginity to her wedding day to "hunting" every man she sees. But for Tommy, it is more that he gets an interest for men. This is not provocative today, why not be a bit more modern in this view. And today naked women's breasts is not daring, it just feel very seventies and dated.
The scenography of Markus Granqvist and the costumes by Lena Lindgren was good. It was especially good when the young couple just arrived at the castle. As they entered the first impression you get the is that only Riff Raff and Magenta is present, but all of a sudden the whole house comes to life and people show up that you did not see directly. For example, one member of the cast has clothes in the same fabric as the wallpaper in a room and all of a sudden the wallpaper becomes alive.
I was really impressed by Camilo Ge Bresky, who played Frank n Further. I have previously seen him in the Book of Mormon, but he did not have an equally prominent role in it. But as the transvestite Frank n Further, he can act out fully. Camilo is quite large in itself physically but with a pair of high plateau shoes he becomes gigantic against the others on the stage, which reinforces his character. His body language is very feminine and that contrast is so perfect. My thoughts went straight to the role of Lola in Kinky Boots. Camilo has incredible voice resources. I wasn't impressed by the music and will not remember it for long, but for sure I will remember his voice and the way he sang. I was deeply impressed by him both as a singer and actor as every glance and move was perfect.
So was it a good or bad musical? I still don't really know to think about it. Absurd, weird, some laughter from time to time and some big question marks. So I guess you have to find out what you think about it. But if you see it you will most likely be impressed by Camilo.
It is stated on the website that it is recommended from 14 years, and I can understand and agree with this. It is a very special musical. There are parts of it you might need to discuss with them afterwards so it is not misunderstood and give a distorted picture.
Rocky Horror will be played on March 9 in Norrköping and March 29 - May 9 in Linköping.