Everyone remembers their first trip to the floor show.
It might have been a midnight slumber party in 8th grade, or a Halloween time warp. It might have been a date night, or a spur-of-the moment event following a “you haven’t seen Rocky Horror!?”
For me, this was my third or fourth time experiencing the wonder of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I was very excited to see it as a stage performance. I was thrilled it was happening the night before Halloween, and excited to go with all my friends, some of whom had never before experienced said floorshow. I had questions that kept me awake through long nights modelling. Questions like…how would they do the car scene? Or the orgy at the end? Who would play Tim Curry—I mean, who would play Frank?
At first, I was a bit hesitant. We arrived at a hole-in-the-wall theater called the Mainline, and I thought for sure that a smaller indie theater meant a less spectacular show. But my opinions changed immediately when I saw they were offering refreshments called the Hot Patootie and the Sweet Transvestite.
We were escorted into a dark theater where I took a seat in the second row. We were among a packed crowd that seemed excited and full of anticipation. Before the play began, we were told that callbacks were allowed, and they began almost immediately, with contributions from both the audience and the crew.
And then suddenly, the show was starting…and oh man…
The cosines of the theater and the absence of props, which I initially thought would take away from the performance, made the events more surreal and personal than they ever did in the movie. Actors sat on the laps of audience members, or made eye contact, or mouthed “help” to unsympathetic fans. The car I had wondered about was constructed using four people, one of whom used her flexible legs as windshield wipers. It truly felt as though we, the audience, were going on a journey as strange and intimate as that of Brad and Janet, and I’ve never felt so swept away or transported by a performance.
Casting was terrific; even Tim Curry’s replacement did a really good job. The songs were fanatical and roaring fun, the acting on point, the delivery hilarious and entertaining, and breaking for intermission made me genuinely sad. Until, of course, I walked out of the theater doors to be greeted by the whole cast and crew high-fiving me all the way to the bar.
Then came Act II! I’ve always felt the movie loses steam and dissolves into a bizarre haze around the time Janet and Rocky hook up. But this live performance? The musical numbers featured more people than in the original film, which boosted the overall energy and mood to even out the…um…tension of the experience. It was also quite enjoyable to crane my neck around to find the faces of those unfamiliar with Rocky Horror, and watch their confusion during the final floorshow scenes.
Overall, it’s some of the greatest fun I’ve had since coming to Montreal. It taught me to never judge a play by the size of its theater, and that Rocky Horror really is better experienced on stage, with friends. I highly recommend that no matter where you are, if you see the opportunity to go to a live showing of Rocky Horror, go! If it’s anything like this wonderful experience, you will absolutely have a fantastic time.