“The Rocky Horror Show” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – October 9, 2021


The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hormel Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

“The Rocky Horror Show” film is a bizarre, over-the-top camp extravaganza that delights audiences.  The movie has become a cult classic favorite at midnight showings.  But the show was born on a tiny London stage and arrived in this country originally as an obscure off-Broadway type entertainment at a Los Angeles cabaret where Tim Curry starred as the Sweet Transvesite Transexual Transylvanian Frank ‘N’ Furter.

When I attended the LA premiere, I didn’t know much about the show but when Curry emerged in leather boots and the sexist transgender outfit imaginable to launch the delightfully entertaining romp, I was enthralled by the hilarious merriment.

After years without the show on stage or even the film being played at midnight lovefests, it is finally back at The Phoenix Theatre Company in a delightfully wacky Robert Kolby Harper production.  The musical explodes all over the tiny Hormel Theatre with an energized cast of remarkably comic players who stimulated a capacity opening night crowd with expected slams at the silly plot to revel with the performers as everyone enjoys each minute of the wild merriment.

In keeping with Covid protocols, though, the audience didn’t storm the stage for “Time Warp” but nonetheless got into every joyous moment of revelry in Richard O’Brien’s silly homage to science fiction, outlandish horror slams, and irreverent comedy.  The now-familiar tunes were played with fervent rapture by Mark 4Man’s spirited band who actually step into the show’s action from time-to-time.

But the cast headed by Sime Kosta as Frank ‘N’ Furter had a delicious time with the camp gaiety and joviality.  Kosta paraded around in the highest of stiletto heels with limp-wrists dangling hysterically as he reveals his creation, Rocky, whom he describes as “a blond man with a tan.”

Unsuspecting Brad and Janet are out for a drive when a flat tire takes them to Frank ‘N’ Furter’s bizarre castle seeking a phone.  Instead, they end up at a wacko party to end all parties that lifts their once normal lives to new heights of hilarious extravaganza.  Kade Bailey as Brad and Alyssa Chiarello as Janet maintain their staunch prudery for just long enough before they join the crazy characters and let their stuffy inhibitions fall with a loud thud.

Lynzee Foreman’s Magenta, Kat Bailes’ Columbia, and Michael Damian Fasano’s Riff-Raff cavort with rib-splitting delight as weirdo residents.  Chris Kane charms as Frank ‘N’ Furter’s creation Rocky who delights in his glamorous good-looks.  Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda stops the show cold as two wacko visitors, Dr. Scott and Eddie.  An outlandish set depicting Frank ‘N’ Furter’s weird estate, over-the-top glitzy costumes, and garishly colored lighting complete the riotous production.

“The Rocky Horror Show” plays through December 5 and a more delightfully amusing foray into madcap fun couldn’t be found.  For tickets, call TPTC box office at 602-254-2151 or order online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A