The Rocky Horror Show – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

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Jason-Jamal Ligon (Phantom), Julissa Sabino (Phantom), Diany Rodriguez (Magenta), Stephanie Lloyd (Phantom), Jordan-William Snead (Phantom), and Ashley Prince (Columbia) in The Rocky Horror Show at Actor’s Express. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.

Jason-Jamal Ligon (Phantom), Julissa Sabino (Phantom), Diany Rodriguez (Magenta), Stephanie Lloyd (Phantom), Jordan-William Snead (Phantom), and Ashley Prince (Columbia) in The Rocky Horror Show at Actor’s Express. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.

Expect to be blown away by Actor’s Express’ production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. Bursting with talent, energy and sexuality, this production embraces the campiness of the musical and gives it a steroid shot to create an amazing night of entertainment.

Whether you are apprehensive about seeing The Rocky Horror Show or afraid of being labeled a Rocky Horror virgin, there’s no need to fear. The theater makes it comfortable and keeps the audience participation to mainly verbal responses – no food or water guns here. Do expect, however, to be immersed in the world of the characters as soon as you enter the house.

Erik Teague’s fascinating and titillating costumes draw you into the before-show antics of the ensemble, who are as captivating and carnal as their wardrobes. If they are not interacting with audience members, the group slides around the impressive multi-level set by Phillip Male. They set up the show nicely.

Once Diany Rodriguez (Usherette in this scene and also Magenta later) lusciously sings the opening lines, you know you are in for a treat. Everything to the smallest detail click with the show, making it hard not leave with a smile on your face.

Actor's Express

Craig Waldrip (Frank ‘N’ Furter) and the Phantoms: L-R, front, Stephanie Lloyd, Julissa Sabino; back, Jordan-William Snead, Chase Alford in The Rocky Horror Show at Actor’s Express. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus

Under the wise direction of Freddie Ashley, the cast shines, milking every ounce of energy and campiness the musical offers. All of the cast, principals and ensemble, have a tight chemistry that plays well onstage and brings the show to another level (as does Ricardo Aponte’s mesmerizing choreography).

As Brad and Janet, Benjamin Davis and Randi Garza embody the characters and bring them to life in a way that’s different and better than the famous roles in the movie. Davis plays Brad with the unassuming qualities required of the character but also with a confidence that makes him stand out amongst the other strong personalities on stage. Likewise Garza’s Janet is likable and undergoes a believable transformation into the sex-crazed young woman who falls for Rocky (Brian Hatch).

Providing the show with its foundation is Craig Waldrip as Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter, the Dr. Frankenstein-like character who creates a man. In this role, he is at the top of his game. He owns the character and owns the stage with powerhouse vocals and a persona that excites the audience.

Other stand-outs include Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s assistant Riff Raff, who provides a worthy antagonist to Waldrip, and his vocals are just as amazing. Ashley Prince as Columbia also gives a strong, memorable performance.

A sinfully delicious treat, The Rocky Horror Show runs through August 9, 2014 at Actor’s Express. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show is about two hours with an intermission. Please be advised the show contains an adult content advisory.

– Kenny Norton