Who knew the Colorado College drama and dance department was so depraved? Arrayed with shining latex body suits, ratty thigh-high stockings, C.F.M. pumps and more pancake makeup than 17th-century France, these innocent young students have produced the most orgiastic performance of the year. They've taken on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it works.
First performed in 1973, Richard O'Brien's theatrical spoof of musicals, B-movies and the sexual repression of the '50s was elevated to cult status by the 1975 film version starring Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. The CC production takes many cues from the film, in which Brad and Janet -- two young, uptight and overtly modest lovers -- head out to find and thank Dr. Scott, the science professor who brought them together. Thanks to a flat tire, they find themselves stranded at the isolated lair of Frank N. Furter, a perverted cross-dressing scientist; his servants, the equally perverted and closely related Riff Raff and Magenta; Columbia, a sexy tap-dancing freak; and the Phantoms, a collection of slutty guests. You see, Frank is having a party to announce the creation of his new plaything, a Shelly-style monster named Rocky. Throw the utterly shocked and repressed Brad and Janet into the mix, and you've got a long night ahead.
Rocky Horror's staying power lies in its extension from the stage into the laps of the audience. Over the years, a series of call and response lines have developed that make the scene in the seats half of the performance. It's a ritual -- the arrival of Dr. "Scott" prompts the hurling of toilet paper, each time anyone says "Janet," it's answered with "Slut!," and throughout the play dirty questions are yelled to the cast, and then inadvertently answered via the script. CC has guaranteed the tradition continues by installing a foul-mouthed prompter in the rear of the hall, and allowing the Phantoms to work their pornographic magic throughout the seats.
The effort and enthusiasm that has gone into this melodramatic production is blatant, from the lighting to the individual performances. Suggestively designed by Donna Arnick, the decadent pink sets pervade the production with an erotic air, matched only by the superb costuming by Gypsy Ames. Ames must have scoured every porn, kink and theatrical vendor in the region to find enough fishnet, push-ups and stilettos to (barely) cover the cast.
Junior Malcolm Ulbrick is a perfect choice as the blustery, flustered, shamed and hormonal Brad. Ulbrick manages to be consistently both sexual and prude, allowing the audience to take his character seriously even while he is singing in his sock garters and being seduced by a 6-foot-5-inch interplanetary transvestite.
Junior Jill Boyd is a little over the top in her innocent portrayal of the dopey Janet, often smothering her inherent naive idiocy. Boyd does post-coital Janet better, shining on "Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me." Freshman Kate Sippel's Columbia is one of the production's highlights, due to her complete immersion in the tough, spunky, pouty character. Sippel's voice doesn't hurt either -- sexy, ballsy and big.
Topping off the talented ensemble is senior Brandon Wolcott, absolutely divine as Frank. Wolcott's got the looks, got the moves, the legs and the voice, sending chills with his sexual growl and pussycat persuasions. And Wolcott's got the attitude -- he is Frank. The twitching lips, hyperactive hips, and queenly carriage are integral to Frank's bisexuality and various Romanesque indulgences, and Wolcott leaves no question of Frank N. Furter's kink. Convincing the audience with his royal entry and performance of "Sweet Transvestite" and confirming with the comically tragic floor show and "Don't Dream It," Wolcott is unquestionably The Star.
The crunchy college has exposed itself with Rocky Horror, and we love our slutty new friend. Get a piece while you can, because you won't see action like this for a long time. P.S.: Leave the kiddies at home.