Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

The Rocky Horror Show
The Perfect Halloween Theatrical Treat

Also see John's review of Hairspray

Larry Buzzeo, Nicole Piro and
Anne Chamberlain

The Slow Burn Theatre presents a remounting of last year's hugely successful production of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show. This ultra-campy classic unfolds on a dark and stormy night, as an uptight, clean-cut young couple named Brad and Janet seek refuge at a nearby castle after their car breaks down. Little do they know that the castle is occupied by a scientist named Dr. Frank 'N' Furter. He is about to unveil his latest creation—the perfect man. Brad and Janet enter the bizarre world of visitors from a planet called Transsexual Transylvania. Will they ever find their way home? And if they do, will they ever be the same? This well done production is sure to titillate timid theatergoers and satisfy the seasoned "Rocky" aficionados as well.

Don't be surprised if audience members arrive dressed up in costume, and/or talk back to the actors on stage. You can join in the fun if you wish, as the Slow Burn Theatre sells "Rocky Survival Kits" for $5 which contain appropriate items to help you with the audience participation you may crave. Just be sure to leave the children at home, due the adult content of the show both on and off the stage. Those of you who have never seen either the film or the stage version of this show (known as "Rocky Virgins") can be sure that this is a theatrical experience you will not want to miss.

The Rocky Horror Show premiered in June of 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London, England. Later that year, it played at the Classic Cinema, and continued in various locations, before closing after 2,960 performances on September 13, 1980. In March of 1974, the show had its first U.S. preview at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles where it ran for nine months to rave reviews. On March 10, 1975, The Rocky Horror Show opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre. The run ended on April 5, 1975 after 3 previews and 45 performances.

The film version, called The Rocky Horror Picture Show, was released on August 14, 1975, and became a popular showing at certain theatres such as the Waverly Theater (now called the IFC Center). Sometime during 1976 the audience participation phenomenon that transformed this film to cult status was born. Audience members dressed as the characters and brought plot-related props with them into the theatre. They did things like light candles, squirt squirt-guns, shield themselves with newspapers from imaginary rain, and throw rice, toast and toilet paper during specific points in the film. Midnight showings featured people lip-synching to the soundtrack before the film began. This soon evolved into audience members saying lines out loud along with the characters during the movie, and yelling colorful commentary or counterpoint dialogue at the characters as well. The famed "Time Warp" song and its very specific choreography have become immediately identifiable with both the film and the musical.

Larry Buzzeo is perfect as Dr. Frank 'N' Furter. His energy is endless, and he somehow manages to maintain a small degree of masculinity even in the makeup, bustier and heels. Those who have seen the film will note how strongly his performance is influenced by that of Tim Curry—in all the right ways.

Lindsey Forgey as Janet and Noah Levine as Brad work convincingly as the unassuming ingĂ©nues duped into the decadent world of Frank 'N' Furter. Miguel Quintero as Rocky looks every muscled-inch the part of Frank 'N' Furter's fantasy of the perfect man, though his acting and singing need a bit of polishing. Nicole Piro has the right feel for the evening from her very first line as the Usherette foreshadowing the events of the double-feature evening ahead. She seems mischievous rather than menacing—leaving the darker side for the tale waiting to unfold.

Patrick Fitzwater provides very clean direction, and more choreography than one would expect from this show. His use of the of three male and three female "Phantoms" in as many numbers as possible adds greatly to the show. The live four-piece band, led by music director Phil Hinton, keeps the score under control without letting the guitar and percussion run over the singers. The sound levels between the singers and the band are also perfectly balanced. The clean sound for this show means the only lines one may miss hearing are the ones shouted over by rowdy audience members.

The Slow Burn Theatre production of The Rocky Horror Show will be appearing through October 29, 2011, at the West Boca Performing Arts Center on the campus of West Boca High, 12811 West Glades Rd. (3.5 miles west of 441). Performances are Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for Adults, $20 for Seniors, and $15 for Students. For more information visit

The Slow Burn Theatre Company is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) professional theatre company hiring local actors and actresses. They are committed to bringing high-quality contemporary musical theatre to South Florida, and proving that modern Broadway can rock. The company offers technical internships to local students, providing them with professional experience, encourage aspiring young artists by offering insight into the process through talk-backs after their Thursday evening performances. For more information on Slow Burn you may contact them by phone at (954) 323-7884 or online at .

Dr. Frank 'N' Furter: Larry Buzzeo
Brad: Noah Levine
Janet: Lindsey Forgey
Magenta/Usherette: Nicole Piro
Riff Raff: Rick Pena
Rocky: Miguel Quintero
Columbia: Anne Chamberlain
Eddie/Dr. Scott: Conor Walton
Narrator: Matthew Korinko,br>Phantoms: Troy Davidson, Arturo Sierra, Vance Vlasek, Mary Gundlach, Sabrina Gore, Erica mendez

Director/Choreographer: Patrick Fitzwater
Musical Director: Phil Hinton
Scenic Design: Ian T. Almeida
Lighting Designer: Lane Blank
Sound: Traci Almeida
Costumes: Rick Pena
Stage Manager: Jon Jones

Photo: Gemma Bramham

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere