Just under a week until Halloween, Bayou City Theatrics kicks off their inaugural season with Richard O'Brien's cult-favorite, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. While audiences at the Toyota Center waited for the original material girl to take the stage, Bayou City Theatrics channeled 80s inspired glam pop-punk fashions with their own breed of material girls (and boys) and treated their audience to a fresh rendition of the classic show.
Colton Berry and Beth Lazarou put their creative juices together to direct this campy, sexy, and fun production. Until last night, my only experiences with ROCKY HORROR were viewings of the film. Be warned, this production is wildly different, but in a totally satisfying, refreshing, and ultimately good way. Colton Berry and Beth Lazarou have heightened the sexual innuendos of the show, allowing the audience to be exposed to some that the film glosses over. This is most apparent in the first act, where the sexually dormant Brad Majors and Janet Weiss are hilariously and overtly sexualized. Yet, the way the characters are portrayed, it is clear that Brad and Janet Don't know they are being so explicitly sexual, which makes this take on the script really work. Moreover, Colton Berry and Beth Lazarou never miss a camp moment, ensuring each one is present and enjoyable. Under their direction, the audience easily gets lost in the whimsy and hilarity of the barely there plot and the delightfully rollicking musical numbers that leave us dancing in our seats.
As Dr. Frank'n'Furter, Tye Blue simply steals the show, which is what the audience wants him to do. From his entrance in "Sweet Transvestite" to his captivating, beautiful performance of "I'm Going Home," Tye Blue creates a Frank'n'Furter that is fully realized, humorous, and even sympathetic. His portrayal shows off seasoned acting chops and brilliant talent, bringing heart, soul, and surprising depth to the production and character. It would be easy to simply do a send up of Tim Curry's iconic performance, but Tye Blue makes the character his own with his splendid take on the role. Mix in his charming and delightful singing voice, and he is just remarkable in the role. With no tricks to his treat, the audience is comfortably placed in his back pocket and truly loves every moment he is on stage. Without question, Tye Blue earns and deserves his standing ovation from the audience.
Beth Lazarou's Janet Weiss is an 80s valley girl through and through, including a running Tic-Tac gag that never got tired in the performance ("One Calorie!"). Her ditzy, nasal talking voice is a perfect counter to her powerful belt-filled singing voice, creating a mesmerizing dynamic. The audience delights in Beth Lazarou's performance.
Brad Majors, as played by Bobby Haworth, is square, stilted, and comical. While not really a singer, he makes his performances in the songs work and the audience is not bothered by his missed pitches. Instead, his vocals add to the campy nature of the show and leave the audience grinning. Bobby Haworth wins the audience over with his excellent sense for comedic timing, eliciting numerous laughs throughout the show.
Wendy Taylor's Riff Raff is a magnanimous show stealer. Her strong, bright, and powerful vocals cause the audience to cheer for her time and time again. She never misses an opportunity to sell a performance to the back row, which drives the audience wild with enthusiastic support. Another excellent facet to her performance is her riotous socially inappropriate behaviors, especially in the first act. Her Riff Raff is definitely odd and off-putting, but not in a way that the audience is accustomed to seeing.
As Magenta, Scott Lupton looks and acts fantastic. His vocals, due to some sound mixing issues, get lost or completely covered up. He is wonderfully quirky in his portrayal of the character.
Columbia, portrayed by Arianna Bermudez, is fun. However, her shining moments come late in the second act when she gets to let loose and berate Frank'n'Furter for his diabolical betrayals. She leaves the audience rolling in the aisles with her medley of Latin pop-culture references. Sadly, appearing not to be miked, there are times where her vocals are lost in the bigger group numbers.