Oh, the Horror!
A cult classic musical rocks out at the little theater in the graveyard.
By Lavonne Leong
Tony Young as Dr. Frank N. Furter, "just a sweet transvestite."
Photo courtesy of Manoa Valley Theatre
For the record, it’s not a horror show at all, but a polymorphously perverse send-up of science fiction stories from Frankenstein to Star Trek, by way of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. It’s good-natured. It’s gothic. It’s camp. And it’s exuberantly anarchic.
Most will know this heady brew as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film that spawned an entire subculture of audience participation, from costumes and props to “talk-back” lines shouted at the screen (wholesome young man to Dr. Frank N. Furter: “What have you done with Janet?” Audience: “More than you have!”). But before there was the film, there was the musical, which was born in London and spread westward as audiences got wind that it was a night to remember.
For the uninitiated, MVT guest director Jerry Tracy provides a pithy synopsis: “Brad and Janet, a naive young couple, stumble into the castle of a mad scientist. Who just happens to be from another planet. And happens also to be a transvestite. He’s creating a new being, and they arrive on the night of the unveiling. So he unveils his creature. And then, um, everybody seduces everybody.”
Rodgers and Hammerstein it ain’t. “We wrangled back and forth about the suitability of it for our ‘family organization,’” says Tracy, of the first time he directed the show at the Aloha Performing Arts Co. in Kealakekua. “But you know what, by today’s standards it’s really pretty tame. So we did it. And it was such a hit that we did it again the next year.”
A Virgin’s Guide to Rocky Horror
If someone at the show asks whether you’re a virgin, it’s (probably) not a come-on.