ROCKY HORROR Rocks Ridley Park

by Lisa Panzer

Get ready to be transformed and transfixed as ROCKY HORROR comes alive on Barnstormer’s Stage! The fourth annual Barnstormers
cast of the THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, as directed by Marsha L. Amato-Greenspan, doesn’t just give lip service to the promise of audience participation, so be prepared to be engaged by far-out trannies (Transylvanians), George the Rat, and even your fellow audience members. Prop bags are also offered for a reasonable price. My friend discovered during the pre-show that she was yet a virgin, never having experienced THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and quickly laid low while the cast went around and collected the other virgins. What did they do with them? Mwahahahaaa…

Danielle Finlay, Andrew Hughes, Ashley O’Connor, David Palmer, Courtney Gardner, Matt Bennis in a scene from The Barnstormers' THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, running in Ridley Park, PA through November 5.

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW by Richard O’Brien is a mash-up of B-list monster, sci-fi, and motorcycle movies and mixed with polysexuality and eros, with a pastiche of torch songs and rock n’ roll combined to give the piece its own international midnight cult status. The thrust of the story, as relayed by the horribly charming narrator (well executed by Sharon Daws), is this: young sweethearts Brad Majors (Matt Bennis) and Janet Weiss (Ashley O’Connor) are enroute via car to find Dr. Scott (David Palmer), their high school science teacher to tell him that they are engaged, when a flat tire strands them in the rain, causing them to seek a telephone to call for help at a nearby castle.

At the castle, they are met by a host of cosmic conventioners from Transylvania, Riff-Raff (Danielle Finlay), his loving sister Magenta (Dawn Sheppard), Columbia (Courtney Gardner), a host of trannies (Marissa Capuano, Ted Kogut, Emily Ann Murphy, Nicole Courtney Peters, Christine Steif, Patrick Walsh, Natalie Walton), and Dr. Frank N Furter (Jon Rivkind) who takes command. Brad and Janet are persuaded to shed their wet clothes, and later, their inhibitions.

Matt Bennis and Ashley O’Connor as Brad and Janet are beautiful as the quintessential innocent high school sweethearts, but also very believable in their ‘trans’-formed roles as well.

Danielle Finlay makes it happen as Riff Raff, especially through her facial expressions and Dawn Sheppard’s Magenta sets her apart, yet is nicely in balance with her “brother” and the rest of the cast.

Courtney Gardner is adorable and sexy in her role as Columbia, especially memorable as she grieves for her Eddie (Jonathan Brunke).

Jon Rivkind absolutely took the stage in his grand entrance and opening number “Sweet Transvestite”, and gives a strong performance throughout as the flamboyant Dr. Frank-N- Furter.

Andrew Hughes is well cast as Rocky, and uses his physicality well in the role. Jonathan Brunke imparts a special pizzazz as Eddie while David Palmer is full of surprises as Dr. Scott!

The talented trannies, Marissa Capuano, Ted Kogut, Emily Ann Murphy, Nicole Courtney Peters, Christine Steif, Patrick Walsh, Natalie Walton, each granted their own special touch to the show.

Singing was exuberant (Musical Director, Matt Bennis), and the Rocky Horror Band (Keyboard – Jackson Borges, Drums -Joe Baglia, Bass Guitar – John Tatarowicz) played not only music, but some tricks of their own as well. The dancing was sometimes chaotic, but somehow seemed to fit the show frenetically, and was certainly done with enthusiasm (Co-choregraphers – Courtney Gardner and Nicole Courtney Peters).

All together, the cast gave quite an exciting performance, especially as judged by the zealousness of the audience, who participated in counterpoint dialogue throughout the show. The cast handled the heckling well, many times giving as good, if not better, than they got. Great improv.

Set design by the talented J. “Buzz” DiSabatino and Marsha L. Amato-Greenspan is well thought out, utilizing the stage’s size, shape and eccentricities to the fullest, lending further dimensions to the show, and the stage pieces are ‘awesome’. Lighting (J. “Buzz” DiSabatino) was well designed and executed, providing a fuller, seemless and fun experience for the audience. Make-up (Seanna Monahan) and costumes were very interesting, and quite suitable. Kudos to Jeffrey Greenspan and Brian Miller for keeping this show together.

Julie Lacontora is to be congratulated for coordinating hospitality considering the array of goodies available there and the crowd waiting to be pleased. And, the crowd was definitely pleased! There was dancing in the aisles…

NOTE: Language and content may not be suitable for young audiences.

For a horribly good time:

By Richard O’Brien
Directed by Marsha L. Amato-Greenspan
October 21-November 5, 2011 (special Halloween show 10/31 at 7PM)
The Barnstormers Theater
402 Tome St
Ridley Park, PA 19078

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