Transsexual Transylvania arrives at NKU

If you can only see one play at NKU this year, make it “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Director Michael Hatton has put together a terrific cast and has done an amazing job bringing the cult classic back to the stage. And for someone who doesn’t attend plays often, I was floored by everyone involved in this production.

As the show started, the audience’s attention was focused on a screen hanging above the stage. All that appeared was Frank-N-Furter’s, played by senior Brendon North, mouth — which was a nice take on the opening of the film. From there, senior Kay Brown, one of the Phantoms, broke into the first song of the play: “Science Fiction Double Feature.” She started the show on a high note by making the song all her own and geared the audience up for the rest of the night.

The story can be confusing at first glance, but the basic plot is simple. Lovers Brad and Janet, played by freshman Jeremy Long and senior Ellen Kahne, are traveling to visit a former teacher when they get a flat (“how ‘bout that!”) and seek refuge in a nearby house. Once inside, insanity ensues. But at the heart of everything that this play achieves, there is a really good rock musical. Each song is remarkably performed; the audience greeted each one warmly, even singing along at some points.

With such a beloved movie, the expectations were extremely high for Hatton and his cast. Good news though: they knocked ‘em dead — especially North as the corset-donning Dr. Frank-N-Furter. When he made his grand entrance onto the stage and began singing “Sweet Transvestite,” there was a collective gasp amongst the audience. Why? Because he sounded like Tim Curry. It felt like North was a Curry copy, not in a bad way but a respectful homage to the original Frank-N-Furter.

But North wasn’t the only cast member who exceeded expectations. Senior Tim Hein, as Riff Raff, played the handyman extremely well, and during the “Time Warp” he commanded the stage while hitting some really high notes. The song and dance number was a highlight of the show. Harli Cooper fit Columbia well. She gave the role the right amount of flare and she pulled off the tap dance. Monica Tenhover did a fine job as Magenta, the devious companion to Riff Raff.

Hardcore fans of the film will enjoy themselves. Even though there is a lot of raunchy comedy and sexual themes in this play, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an enjoyable musical. Plus, the sexuality aspect is a major role in the play. Like Frank says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is a wonderful play with great music and an interesting message, that it’s okay to let go of social norms and find who you really are, even if that means putting on lipstick, fishnets and high heels. And remember, it’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” runs from Oct. 28 to Nov. 7. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Corbett Theatre Lobby or you can call and reserve tickets by calling 859-572-5464. Show times are: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

“Give yourself over to absolute pleasure. Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh – erotic nightmares beyond any measure, and sensual daydreams to treasure forever. Can’t you just see it? Don’t dream it, be it.” — Dr. Frank-N-Furter

Story by Brandon Barb