Rocky Horror Forever

    Only a few things in life are inevitable. Death and taxes come to mind as the more prevalent examples, as well as midnight showings of the 1975 box office flop “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Like a plague or infestation, “Rocky Horror” seems to show up in every metropolitan arena in America, anxiously awaiting new viewers (or “virgins,” as they are affectionately called) to infest. The film itself seems to give no reason for this phenomenon; a haphazard collection of musical scenes with no coherent theme other than to see Tim Curry in tights and allow Susan Sarandon to get her kit off approximately every ten minutes.

    So then why does “Rocky Horror” play to full audiences across the country every weekend out of the year? After 10 minutes in one of Crazed Imaginations’ “Rocky Horror” screenings, the answer is clear: Nobody is, in fact, paying any attention to the movie. Instead, to hold the audience’s attention, Crazed Imaginations (and other “Rocky Horror” troupes) turn the already campy flick into an unbelievably hokey stage show, hamming it up as a group of actors and actresses recreate the film, line by line, in front of the screen.

    But that’s not all “Rocky Horror” has up its sleeve. For it is not only a film and an interesting parlor show, but a full-on audience participation experience in which every member has a vital part to play. When characters on the screen speak, the audience speaks back; sort of an X-rated “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” When our heroes, Brad (the audience endearingly nicknames him “asshole”) and Janet (“slut”), learn to dance, or sit down to dinner, or engage in wanton sexual behavior, the audience follows along and “performs” these activities with them.

    The “audience participation” twist that gives a “Rocky Horror” viewing its appeal is an impressive idea in theory, but what is infinitely more amazing is that it actually works! Using nothing more than an array of cheap props and jokes, the cast members at Crazed Imaginations somehow manage to pull off a more successful and more satisfying interactive show than the multimillion dollar ventures at Disneyland or Universal Studios.

    Some of the credit for this success has to be given to the talented cast of Crazed Imaginations, with its limitless energy and wonderful sense of the burlesque. It takes a brave performer to sustain a show at orgasmic energy levels for the full 100-minute show, but it takes a talented one as well to pull it off playing to an audience of hip hecklers.

    Perhaps the sex has something to do with it. Because, let’s face it, everybody loves a guilty pleasure, and the stage show of “Rocky Horror” is rife with wanton behavior. From the nonstop sexual scenes involving all possible pairings on the screens, to the endless cross-dressing and debauchery performed by the live cast, to the underage kids making out in the aisles (those of age are welcome too), every aspect of this show makes for some kinky fun. Even when the film succumbs to a tamer scene, the raunch level is raised considerably by enlisting the aid of penis shadow puppets on the screen.

    Puritans may balk at having such a Bacchanalian festival of sexuality, but the truth is that “Rocky Horror” is all in good fun, and in its playfulness remains less vicious than most anything a 10-year-old kid could view on the Jerry Springer show. Not only that, there’s a serious message, too: According to the Crazed Imaginations cast director and UCSD alumna Amy Johnson, the playful exploration of sexuality in “Rocky Horror” teaches audiences that “sexy comes in all sizes,” as well as in all sexual orientations. It’s certainly the most entertaining lesson in tolerance this author’s seen in a while.

    This Halloween weekend, Crazed Imaginations will have three shows full of the usual debauchery and fun, as well as some costume contests that will simply kick the ass of the third-grade fodder put on by any UCSD organization. So go check out the flick, let some inhibitions slide and party with Dr. Frankenfurter and company at least once this Halloween.

    But, be warned: First-time viewers, or “virgins,” may be drawn on with lipstick and forced to shed their inhibitions. And, if you have a limited view of “acceptable” sexuality, this show is clearly not for you. But these small embarrassments are nothing compared to the fun in store, so just buy the ticket and take the ride.

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