Showing adds local zest to cult classic film

By Xavier Johnson, Scene Editor

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In a small theater that seats about 100 people, a talented cast of actors and actresses put on a hilarious, sexual tension filled and irreverent performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Pinole Community Theater.

The production is being directed by Terry Tracy and choreographed by Anjee Norgaard-Galia. Performances will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Nov. 19. General admission is $23 and $20 for students and seniors. This is a show that first time viewers or ardent “Rocky Horror” enthusiasts will enjoy.

Going to community theater productions can be a mixed bag. Sometimes there is a strong cast with great acting ability that can rival touring productions. Other times, however, the performances will be lacking all around. But luckily this production is the former.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult classic film and stage production about a young newly engaged couple, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, played by Jim Schmiedl and Abigail Colyer Nance, respectively, that get caught up in the castle of Dr. Frank’N’Furter, a highly sexual transvestite and mad scientist. The show explores themes of sexual liberation and acceptance. It is a slight parody of old science fiction and B horror movies of the 1950s and 1960s.

The standout performance is Peter Del Fiorentino as Dr. Frank’N’Furter. Fiorentino has great comedic timing and singing ability. The way he confidently struts around the stage in his high heels and corset belting out the lyrics to “I Can Make You a Man” immediately grabs the audience’s attention.

The casting as a whole is spot on as each actor fits their role well. Schmiedl and Nance play the part of a young naïve couple well. Issac Dayley’s performance as Dr. Frank’N’Furter’s creation, which is intended to be a literal sex toy named Rocky, is strong. Rocky has few lines of dialogue throughout the play, but Dayley uses strong non-verbal acting to make his time on stage of high quality.

The musical accompaniment plays well and at a good volume. The music overpowers the vocals three or four times throughout the musical, but usually fit right inside that zone of being just the right volume to enhance the vocals. The closing drum solo featured in the overture at the start of Act 2 is fantastic.

A big part of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is audience participation. Pinole Community Theater sells a “participation kit” for $5 in the lobby for audience members to purchase. The kit contains objects the audience can use to participate at various times throughout the show. The kit includes a glow stick to wave during “Over at the Frankenstein Place” and cards to throw in the air to coincide with dialogue.

Other than the participation kits, the production encourages the audience to call out during the play. Fans of “Rocky Horror” have a series of callouts, often vulgar, to yell throughout the performance. This adds a lot to the show as it makes seemingly innocuous dialogue hilarious as audience members yell out a well- timed callout.

Go see this production. If this is a first-time experience the overt sexual humor, audience callouts, and strong homoeroticism might shock you. But soon you’ll be laughing and nodding your head to the music. If you’re a “Rocky Horror” fan who’s attended their fair share of midnight showings and know all the callouts you’ll be seeing a solid show that will meet your high expectations.