There were two thieves in Bakersfield last night hidden in the darkness of a mysterious old theatre... One was the soul-stealing and transvestite-ridden original Frankensteinian presentation of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show. It stole my masculinity; but just for a few hours. The other was an ethereal girl who stole my toy popper... more on her later…
The Bakersfield Community Theatre: It’s dark; it’s hidden on the lower south side and surrounded by a dark iron-wrought fence near my old stomping grounds on South Chester Avenue. Gone is the Sno White burger stand across the street. The A&W just up the road disappeared years ago. Walking up to the theatre in the darkness I was reminded of a night once upon a time when there was a sudden piercing of metal on metal as a train smashed into a car on nearby railroad tracks. The ghost stories started that night. I saw flashlights searching the rail line. “They’re searching for a missing hand,” a kid told me. I believed him. I think I imagined Dr. Frank N. Furter holding a bag of those severed arms over the railroad tracks in a strange dream last night… Anyway, the theatre reminded me of old dirt fields, when I would build jumps and go sailing off them on my cool candy-red-painted dirt bike. That was back when the theatre showed the Wizard of Oz and some actor kid poured Raisin Bran into the head of the Scarecrow…
This theatre has been around for ages, and looks like it has too. It’s got a creepy personality both outside and within. The chandeliers seem hung from another age. The old seats, arching in their layout across the theatre make for an almost claustrophobic setting, perfect for this ghoulish show. I sat on an aisle seat, hoping ghosts wouldn’t hover or spill from the very walls… but then, I was at a show where there would be many singing ghouls… I half-expected to see Arthur Chilling melt from the curtained shadows, or at the very least, appear onstage during one of the Rocky Horror Show’s extravagant dance numbers…
Media night at the theatre made for a fun evening of audience participation, one that I thought would be a bit flat as far as audience interaction goes. But it wasn’t. The media folk are as rowdy as they come. I saw Jennifer Balwin, Danielle Belton and Lydia (oops forgot her last name) from the Californian, and I’m almost certain they were dancing the Time Warp… But I could be wrong.
Some of the ladies from the Californian
during the intermission. Which one is Ms. Belton?
The audience doing the 'Time Warp' yeahhh!
I purposely showed up late, avoiding wine and cheese so I wouldn’t be a lush during the performance. But then, this is the play version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You’re supposed to be a lush. You’re supposed to be rude. You’re supposed to throw things, wave lights in the air, pop poppers (mine was stolen by a ravishing dark haired girl with dark brown eyes. She thanked me later at Denny’s. Had she followed me…? Was she there for the French toast platter too?) I inflated a balloon and let it sail two times during the show. The first time it flew back to me, the second it zoomed in front of faces. I dumped confetti and tossed a three of hearts and toilet paper… but then I didn’t have a popper… something was amiss.
I am new to the theatre scene, I’m assuming the purple-clad fellow at the beginning of the show was the director, Kevan J. Klawitter who prompted the crowd to be as rowdy as possible… and boy was it…!
This musical starts off fast and furious. The songs are a hit of yesteryear as I remembered attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the California Street UA theatre during its second heyday in the 1980s. I believe it had runs at the old Valley Plaza Theaters as well. I just can’t remember if I went or not. The show began its run in theatres across America in 1975.
Although some of the singing wasn’t as sharp as I hoped it to be, that doesn’t matter. Attending Rocky Horror is not about great singing, it’s about the energy of experiencing this counterculture phenomenon from yesteryear. There were four or five singers who were right on however, with my favorite easily being L. Jason Medlock who masterfully plays Dr. Frank N. Furter, the transvestite mad doctor of the show.
He was hilarious, attitude-filled and had some great costumes that I'm sure the ladies will dig. I especially thought a few of his scenes were performed with paparazzi-appeal as he broke out into song after song, screaming to the delight of his ghoulish minions: Riff Raff, Magenta, and the ghastly girl who loves him, Columbia…
Be prepared to laugh and yell “Slut!” at Janet Weiss, and, “I see your penis!” at the underwear-costumed Brad Majors, played by Stacey Barrett and Andrew Hupp respectively. Be rude, be fun! This isn’t a show for young kids, although I don’t agree that you should have to be 17 to see this show. The show is meant to be rude, obnoxious, daring, taunting, rough and raw; it’s meant to be an energy release where you can yell and curse, and well, throw conservatism out the window for the evening, or thumb your nose at society and say, “Yes, for two hours, I was as wicked as I could be!”
In the end it’s just a show and all meant in good fun, and is fun. You’ll see plenty of underwear, plenty of lingerie, plenty of skin, with an especially ‘wowing’ Columbia, who with Magenta’s extremely fun growling attitude makes for some rather lovely and skimpily clad visual moments.
I know I’m going to try to go see this show again… Show opens May 6th with two Midnight viewings! (Just like the old days!) Too bad this wasn’t run during Halloween…
My invite came via Julia Jordan Scott, a local writer/actress/creative person/mom who writes a self-inspired feel good blog titled ‘Julie Unplugged’. Her blog makes for happy reading in a new agey kind of way. Read it if you want to feel loved. Keep reading mine if you want to continue dripping in sarcasm; just kidding, read both if you want. She was very pleasant to speak with and is writing an inspiring book about creativity, theatre and her ongoing life… maybe she will send me a chapter to peruse… maybe not, I do seem to have the reputation of being rather rude. Maybe that's why I was invited to the show!
2008 nick belardes