THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Richard O'Brien, directed by Ted Dykstra (CanStage). At the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front East). To April 21. $20-$95, some Monday pwyc. 416-368-3110. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
If you tripped out doing the time Warp, you'll rock and roll again to CanStage's version. Sassy, brassy and full of energy, the show doesn't shock even the staid Bluma audience any more, but it's an entertaining couple of hours.
You know the story. After their car breaks down on a stormy night, straight (initially, at least) Brad (Ron Pederson) and Janet (Mairi Babb) head toward the looming castle in the distance and meet Frank 'n' Furter (Adam Brazier) and his band of libidinous merry freaks - or so they seem to the conservative Brad and Janet.
Richard O'Brien's book doesn't have much of a second act, and his lyrics can't always be clearly heard in this version, but his music enjoyably channels the spirit of 50s and 60s rock.
Director Ted Dykstra keeps the action moving, and there are a number of visual surprises and some wonderfully zestful performances, especially Alison Somerville as the Usherette/ Magenta and Steven Gallagher as Riff-Raff. Eddie Glen (Eddie/Scott), Christine Rossi (Columbia) and Gerrad Everard (Rocky) offer their own brand of fun, as does grainy-filmed narrator John Neville, who turns out not to be so stuffy.
Too bad Pederson and Babb can't shake their cardboard stiffness over the course of the show and Dykstra doesn't make better use of his phantom chorus.
Brazier looks great, sings great and gives his all to Frank. But that all lacks the (arguably tongue-in-cheek) lasciviousness the part calls for. His final number, I'm Going Home, doesn't teeter as it should between the heartfelt and the send-up.
Remember, this is the stage, not the film, so it's verboten to throw rice or toast, though you're encouraged to dress in costume and yell shout-outs.