‘Rocky Horror’ comes to life at 1078 Gallery

Lauren Smith

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Cross-dressing, partial nudity and audience participation.

“The Rocky Horror Show,” directed by Don Eggert, has come to Chico in the intimate environment of downtown’s 1078 Gallery where the performance gets a bit more up close and personal than usual.

Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show” follows the newly married and duller-than-average couple of Brad and Janet. When their car gets a flat tire during a rain storm, they are forced to visit an old castle in search of a telephone.

It is here that they meet a bizarre cast of characters: Riff Raff, the harrowing hunchback; Dr. Frank N. Furter, the transvestite mad scientist; and his creation Rocky, the doctor’s scantily clad perfect specimen of a man. Madness, murder and musical numbers ensue as we follow a plot full of laughs and horrors.

The classic musical is renowned for its passionate cult following. It is normal, if not expected, for audience members to dress up in elaborate outfits and to dance and sing along. Chico State music education alumnus Alden Denny, who plays Rocky, credits the legacy of the production to its audience participation.

“All the callbacks, and the actors feeding off of the callbacks, and the timing of those interspersed jokes — that’s what really does it. And then it’s just campy as all hell,” Denny said.

Factor in the small venue of downtown Chico’s 1078 Gallery and the experience becomes even more unique. With cast members regularly stroking the faces and sitting on the laps of audience members, the musical is amplified by the personal setting. A live band led by Joshua Hegg, a staple of the local music scene, further adds to the experience.

The production did not come together without its fair share of struggles.

“We had a lot of personnel changes, including change of director, assistant director, and choreographer,” Denny said. “Producers changed hands as well.”

Thankfully for the production, director Don Eggert’s leadership qualities helped the performance comel together and gain some stability.

“(Eggert makes) good, strong, solid decisions every single time, which is what we needed for somebody stepping into a production that had been rehearsing for two months without a director,” Denny said.

Standout roles include a comically creepy Riff Raff performed by Ashley Garlick, an effectively irritating Janet by Kasandra Partain and an effeminate yet powerfully attitudinal Dr. Frank N. Furter by Brandon Hilty.

 

Performance details

  • Date: Jan.14 – Jan.18 at 7:30 p.m. (additional shows: Jan. 16 and 17 at 11 p.m.)
  • Location: 1078 Gallery
  • Price: $20

Lauren Smith can be reached at [email protected] or @reginechassagne on Twitter.

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