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Rocky Horror Show so good it shuts up its audience 

Wednesday, Nov 5 2008

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — released in 1975, dismissed by critics, and revived in the late '70s as a midnight movie — might be the most audience-dependent film ever made. If you've ever attempted to watch it at home, without the benefit of a rowdy crowd hurling rice and insults at the screen, you know that it's a weirdly unsatisfying experience. The movie feels like a stage production under glass, which is why filmgoers have always needed to step in and provide the vital energy that the film alone lacks. For that reason, a well-executed live production of Rocky Horror will be a revelation for fans of the movie, because a good live version places the energy squarely where it belongs — with the performers. In Ray of Light's joyously sleazy production at the Victoria Theatre, the near-perfect cast manages to pay tribute to the film while outpacing it in almost every way. The only problem is that some audience members aren't quite sure what to do, since the beautifully executed production numbers render audience participation more or less irrelevant. The whole thing is brilliant proof that Rocky Horror doesn't need a cult following to be a smash.

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Chris Jensen


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