Korda's Rock Horror Show 2023Oh, the horror! Rocky Horror that is!

It was a weekend where fishnets met nostalgia and sequins danced with irreverence, as Korda Artistic Productions sent audiences on a high-heeled strut down memory lane.

 

Celebrating both the 50th anniversary of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Show” and their own 20th theatrical season, Korda didn’t just stage a play—they threw a glamtastic bash that would make Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter himself wink in approval. It’s as if the ghosts of glam rock past descended on the venue, echoing the audacious spirit of Korda’s iconic 2017 staging of “Evil Dead: The Musical.” And although opening weekend is now a thing of the past, there’s still plenty of time to visit Frank’s castle at the Kordazone Theatre – with shows remaining Oct 19-21 and 26-28. The only problem is there may not be any tickets if you don’t snag them quickly.

In a riot of sequins, satin, and shattering norms, “The Rocky Horror Show” delivered a performance that gleefully dances on the edge of tribute and audacity. This iteration is more than just a show—it’s a manifestation of celebration and nostalgia, drenched in giddy audacity and queer pride. It’s a fever dream of liberating themes and glammed-up revelry, choreographed to songs like “The Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite,” that still resonate five decades later.

In this titillating, toe-tapping escapade, the extraordinary Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter (the sparkling Jeremy Burke) welcomes the innocuous Brad and Janet (Natalie and Matthew Vriesen, dripping in prim charm turned sultry) into his scandalous lair. As they journey through this enchanted maze of characters—from the spooktacular Riff Raff (Benjamin Doncom) and the enigmatic Magenta (Sam Bourque), to the sequin-splattered Columbia (Nathalie Mero) and the man-meat marvel that is Rocky (Sean Humenny) —audiences too are beckoned to shed their inhibitions and embrace the tantalizing world of the strange and fantastic. Be warned: once you’ve experienced this time-warping spectacle, your theatre-going life will forever be divided into two epochs: before Rocky and after Rocky. And… you’ll never be the same again.

The towering set unfurls like a fantastical cabaret emporium, ingeniously designed in close collaboration between Marontate and Tech Director Eric Tulp. The audacity doesn’t stop at the design though; it crawls up the back of the theatre to reveal a live band perched high, showering down notes of rock ‘n’ roll and dashes of nostalgia. The musical reverberations are rich, lively, and arresting, a nod to Music Director Matthew Vriesen.

Enter our doe-eyed sweethearts, Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, brought to angelic life by the Vriesens. Their initial innocence was as genuine as a 1950s malt shop, but oh how deliciously they descended into delightful debauchery! And those “charming underclothes”— absolutely impeccable!

Natalie’s Toucha Toucha Touch Me was so playful, everyone in the audience wanted to reach out and grab her, while Matthew had the chance to belt out, Once In A While, one of the two musical numbers that isn’t found in the 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show film version.

Doncom’s Riff Raff was a spooky treat—eerie, yet absolutely captivating, his voice tinged with just the right blend of menace and mischief. His uncanny chemistry with Bourque’s Magenta was a flirtatious dance on the edge of the supernatural.

Columbia, performed by choreographer Mero, was a sequined dynamo—pure frenetic energy wrapped in glitter. As for the namesake of the show, Rocky, portrayed by Humenny, was… well, let’s just say from the moment he was born he was a barely covered chiseled confection of masculinity, leaving the audience gasping for air.

Narrator Adam Giles was more like the ringmaster of this dazzling circus! He guided us through this phantasmagorical journey with a wink and a nod, effortlessly embracing the audience’s cheers and jeers.

Nicole Clark’s Eddie was the rock ‘n’ roll rogue we never knew we needed. Her “Hot Patootie” was a howling anthem of rebellion that tore the house down.

Joey Wright, doing double duty as producer and Dr. Scott, was a paragon of poised eccentricity. The man could sell “Eddie’s Teddy” as a chart-topping hit and make you believe it. Even days after, his performance still rings in my head.

Yet, the true jewel in this gilded crown is Jeremy Burke as Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter. Flamboyant, irresistible, and deliciously devious, Burke embodies the sexually liberated scientist with a command that would make Tim Curry proud.

The show’s Phantoms, played by Georgie Savoie, Sydney White, Nicole Clark, Cavelle Ducet-Lefebvre, and Brandon Chappus, are not mere background fixtures; they are the soul of the show, carrying it from song to song, scene to scene, as indispensable as the sequins on a corset.

But the true essence of this performance lives in its ingenious details and clever touches. Yes, the prop bags for audience interaction make their beloved return—the show thrives on its celebratory nuances.

Marontate’s own connection with “Rocky Horror” is not a mere dalliance; it’s a lifelong affair that began with a photonovel and a vinyl record – and that passion and love for the show was evident throughout.

This show is a love letter to the music, the culture, and the undeniable allure of a work that broke ground and taboos. It celebrates not just the queer and kinky culture that the musical embraces, but transcends it to offer a safe walk on the wild side to all, regardless of identity or orientation. In today’s world, where the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community are far from over, “Rocky Horror” stands as a sanctuary, its themes as urgent and resonant as they were back in the 1970s. It’s a testament to the timeless magic of the musical, the audacity of Kordazone Theatre, and the boundless creativity of all involved.

Bravo to the dream team behind this hauntingly delicious take on the cult classic —Director Jeff Marontate, Musical Director Matthew Vriesen, Choreographer Nathalie Mero, and Producer Joey Wright.

“The Rocky Horror Show” offers an extravaganza that feels born of the original West End production of 1973. The result? A sequin-strewn, boisterous brouhaha that makes for the most electrifying evening Windsor has seen since better times before the pandemic. Korda is at its best with audience-driven cult classics like Rocky and Evil Dead. Let’s hope for more of this in in future seasons.

But for now, for those fortunate souls who sashayed through this extravagant odyssey, let’s prepare to do the Time Warp again and again over the next two weekends (Oct 19-21 and 26-28), because this “Rocky Horror Show” is one for the glittering annals of Windsor theater history. It was a performance so dazzling, so electrifying, it not only nailed it—it bedazzled the nail, framed it, and hung it in the gallery.

Your chance to swing The Sword of Damocles, is just a click away. For more information visit www.kordazone.com.

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