“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” delivers an erotically fun show

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Left to right: Magenta (Makenzie Ryan), Dr. Frank N’ Furter (Juan Bolaños), and Riff Raff (Brandon Burchard). Photo credit: Angel Ortega

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” was a gritty and gruesome, yet erotically captivating musical production.

The musical, produced by Chico State’s School of the Arts (SOTA), was originally written and produced by Richard O’Brien and was later made into a film adaption, named “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” in 1975.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” tells the story of a couple, Janet (Mariah McDonald) and Brad (Ali Hoghoughi), entering the home of a transgender scientist, Dr. Frank N’ Furter (Juan Bolaños) in search of shelter after they are caught in a storm. Upon their arrival, Dr. Frank N’ Furter unveils his artificially made, physically perfect man, named Rocky (Branden Price).

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Dr. Frank N' Furter (Juan Bolaños) with his creation, Rocky (Branden Price). Photo credit: Angel Ortega

When I looked at my ticket, I noticed there was a warning that said, “this production is recommended for ages 16 and up.” After seeing the musical, I now see why.

This musical carries heavy themes of sexual fluidity and sexual liberation, most notably in Bolaños’ character.

Bolaños’ Dr. Frank N’ Furter exuded charisma and sexual expression. The moment he appeared on stage his presence was established. His physical demeanor and dialogue made Dr. Frank N’ Furter one of the definite standouts of the musical.

Hoghoughi’s and McDonald’s performances were exceptional, as well. The on-stage chemistry between the two actors was clear and present, making their respective performances of the newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, all the more believable.

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Janet (Mariah McDonald) and Brad (Ali Hoghoughi), the protagonists of "The Rocky Horror Show," enter into a mysterious mansion after getting caught up in a storm. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

I’ll admit, there were times that I felt the audio mixing could have been better as I had trouble understanding the enunciation of certain words from the actors, at times. This one flaw was heavily overshadowed by many of the vocal performances delivered from the main characters.

Vocal performances from McDonald, Hoghoughi, Price, and Brandon Burchard (who plays Riff Raff, Dr. Frank N’ Furter’s handyman and servant), among others, were outstanding and reflective of SOTA’s ability to curate these yearly productions with truly talented students.

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Left to right: Columbia (Jenna Kitzes), Riff Raff (Brandon Burchard), and Magenta (Makenzie Ryan). Photo credit: Angel Ortega

But the best vocal performance must go to Bolaños. Seeing him grace the stage and deliver a performance with such passion makes me excited to see what he’s capable of doing outside of Chico State.

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Left to right: Brad (Ali Hoghoughi) and Dr. Frank N' Furter (Juan Bolaños). Photo credit: Angel Ortega

The choreography by Megan Glynn Zollinger brought an immense sense of vitality to the production that was seen throughout.

Though, the choreography would not be possible without music, therefore the live band must also be commended.

As someone who was not familiar with the original musical production, nor the film adaption, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I left the theater satisfied and I look forward to SOTA’s spring production of “In The Heights”.

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelOrtegaNews.