March 29 2016 05:41 PM

Old Town Cygnet Theatre revives ‘Horror Show’

Sean Murray (left) and Danny Hansen in The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Photo by Ken Jacques

Twenty-five years after playing the inimitable Frank 'N' Furter in Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show at the San Diego Rep, Sean Murray is reprising the role—with a bang—at Old Town's Cygnet Theatre, of which he is also artistic director. What's more, Murray is directing this fiercely energetic staging of a campy, gender-bending show that never gets old.

Rocky Horror isn't old but at least middle-aged, having debuted in 1973 in London. But if ever there was a musical possessing the exuberance and rebelliousness of youth, this is it. What happens in this often-produced tale of two squeaky-clean visitors to Frank 'N' Furter's "castle" is of no matter. Their presence is just a pretext for all the outrageous and still audacious song-and-dance numbers, with practically everybody in makeup, drag or underwear. Part of the fun of the Cygnet production, as at movie houses when the film screens, is that the audience is very much involved: shouting out lines, hurling insults, singing along, dressing in theme—in short, doing all the things you aren't allowed to do at 98 percent of live theater.

Murray's the centerpiece of this spectacle, but he has talented accomplices: Bets Malone, playing dual roles and lustily belting out "Science Fiction," the tune that opens and closes the show; Jacob Caltrider and Amy Perkins as the unsuspecting pair who fall under Frank's spell; the nattily dressed Jim Chovick as the show-narrating Criminologist; and absolutely Andrew Hull's scenic design, Jennifer Brawn Gittings' costumes, David Brannen's choreography and a suitably loud band.

Rocky Horror's second act drags (yeah, bad pun) and its ballads barely rise above standard Broadway hokum. But numbers like "Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me," "Sweet Transvestite" and, of course, the signature "The Time Warp" sizzle with staying power. It's worth wondering where The Rocky Horror Show might be playing in another 25 years and if Sean Murray could still get into a corset and pink sequined heels.

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show runs through May 7 at the Old Town Theatre. $46 and up.

Catch it if you can: fruitlessmoon theatreworks' imaginative production of Waiting for Godot, through April 10 at White Box Live Arts in NTC Liberty Station, Point Loma.


Silence is Not Golden: A staged reading of the play by award-winning local playwright Anita Yellin Simons about domestic violence and the dangers of not speaking up. It happens at the First United Methodist Center on March 30.

HONK! Jr.: The Hans Christian Andersen-inspired musical about a duckling named Ugly who’s learning to find his true worth. Presented by the Theatre School @ North Coast Rep, it opens for six performances on March 31 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

A Little Night Music: The Stephen Sondheim musical centers on an enchanting actress who invites her male admirers, as well as their jealous wives, for a weekend in the country. It opens April 1 at the Coronado Playhouse.

Skin Deep: A witty, overweight woman goes on a blind date with a fella who doesn’t think before he speaks. Hilarity ensues, natch. Written by Jon Lonoff, it opens April 1 at the Scripps Ranch Theatre.

Last Angry Brown Hat: A staged reading of the award-winning play about a former “Chicano Power” activist coming to terms with his radical past. Presented by Amigos del REP, it happens April 5 at the Lyceum Stage in the Gaslamp.

Now Playing:

Blithe Spirit: Noel Coward’s comedy deals with a writer having to deal with two wives when the first one returns from the after-life to haunt him. It runs through April 2 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe: A return engagement of the one-man-show about a spaceship captain and the audience is part of the crew. Starring former Cirque du Soleil clown Ron Campbell, it runs through April 3 at the Lyceum Stage in Downtown.

Rope: A new Western musical about a legendary hangman who retires from public executions much to the chagrin of his promoter wife. Written by local playwright Mark Sickman, it runs through April 3 at the Tenth Avenue Theatre in the Gaslamp.

Mack & Mabel: The musical story of a silent film director recalling his love affair with an actress he discovered. It runs through April 10 at the Lamplighters Community Theatre in La Mesa.

Private Eyes: Steven Dietz’s dark “comedy of suspicion” in which the audience is left to their own devices to decide whether or not a couple is cheating on one another. It runs through April 10 at PowPAC Community Theatre in Escondido.

The Miracle Worker: William Gibson’s classic story of Helen Keller and her committed teacher Anne Sullivan. It runs through April 10 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado.

Rain: This new musical based on a short story by Somerset Maugham centers on a missionary, a doctor and their wives who meet a loveable prostitute in ’20s Western Samoa. Directed by Barry Edelstein, it runs through May 1 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.

The Rocky Horror Show: You’ve seen the movie, now see the show about a couple who unwillingly stumbles upon the castle of a “sweet transvestite” and a sordid cast of characters. Presented by Cygnet Theatre, it runs through May 1 at the Old Town Theatre.


See all events on Monday, Oct 24