SALEM COMMUNITY THEATRE Shivering with antici ... pation? Check out ‘Rocky Horror’

By Eric McCrea

It’s just a jump to the left. And a quick right on 14 will have you time-warped to the historic Salem Community Theatre for its fabulous production of “The Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O’Brien.

Maybe you’ve heard of it. Brad and Janet (Keith Stepanic and Bethany Kholos) are stranded on a desolate road because of a flat tire, and they seek the use of a phone at a dark and mysterious castle. But inside, they find many things terrifying and tempting. Of course the piece de resistance is the transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Transexual, Transylvania, played by Matthew Schomer.

Director Michael Dempsey assembled a great cast for his updated and polished “Rocky Horror.” The classic touches are still there; audience participation and dressing up are encouraged. It’s not as rough around the edges, but it still has plenty of sexual t-t-t-tension.

Charles Simon played the Narrator, and his penchant for improv served him well. He was an audience favorite, and he looked rather dapper.

Stepanic was adorable as Brad. He portrayed innocence with a dopey side, and his solo was finally given the grand treatment it deserves.

Kholos shined as Janet. Her performance was reminiscent of Kristen Bell in “Reefer Madness the Musical.” She was awesome with her song “Touch-A Touch Me” but her singing was overshadowed by her uproarious choreography.

Schomer had excellent presence as the larger than life Frank-N-Furter. He nailed the details and his costume was spot on. He chewed the scenery a bit, but let’s face it; with “Rocky Horror” the set should be edible.

Chris Hager was vocally strong as Riff Raff. He embodied the creepiness of the character with every step.

Christopher Fidram was amazing, tackling the roles of Eddie and Dr. Scott. He rocked with Eddie’s solo “Hot Patootie,” and was hilarious with Dr. Scott’s “Eddie’s Teddy.”

Lexi Mellinger was full of personality as Columbia. Despite not being the strongest singer, she was a real standout with her comedic interpretation and delivery. Her tap solo in “Time Warp” was a refreshing throwback.

Roger Gaskin was perfection as Rocky. Some microphone issues marred his song “Sword of Damocles” but his Charles Atlas poses were terrific. His interjections were surprisingly funny.

Tara Holl and Nicki Slaven had a blast performing the opening number “Science Fiction Double Feature,” and their energy and musical strength carried on throughout the evening. They set the tone in spectacular fashion.

A strong chorus enhanced this show, as did fun lighting and flashy costumes. The set was particularly impressive, making great use of the space with several periactoids and numerous escapes. Including televisions into the scenes really upped the production value. Use of a vertical bed for “those” scenes was brilliant.

Whether you’ve seen “The Rocky Horror Show” a thousand times or you’re a virgin, Salem Community Theatre’s production is a great one to catch.

Performances run Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. until Nov. 9, with a special midnight show this Saturday. For reservations, call 330-332-9688.