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THEATER REVIEW: "Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show" is delightfully decadent

Anyone who says theater is a musty, stodgy old art form hasn’t been to the Old Globe lately.

There you’re as likely to find as many spectators as cast members wildly attired in fishnets and leather and carrying flashlights (though probably not pieces of toast) – at least through Nov. 6.

James Vasquez directs the goofball spoof of sci/fi and ’50s B-movies, “Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show,” at the Old Globe through that date.

The 1973 British camp musical didn’t catch on here until the 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, which has remained a staple of midnight screenings ever since.

The plot has clean-cut couple Brad (Kelsey Kurz) and Janet (Jeanna de Waal) with car trouble stumbling into “sweet transvestite” Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle from (or maybe in) outer space. They’re looking for a phone, but what they find is a an oddball assortment of space (and spacey) creatures indulging in a visual feast of weird behavior.

Let me count the characters: the host’s big-voiced buddy Riff Raff (Jason Wooton), Magenta (Laura Shoop), perhaps too loyal for her own good; Columbia (Nadine Isenegger), who never gets the guy but boy, can she dance; the narrator, David Andrew Macdonald, resplendent in Liberace-look dinner jackets; and Sydney James Harcourt as Rocky (aka Frankenstein’s nearly-naked monster), whose muscles have earned him “the Charles Atlas seal of approval.”

And of course there’s Frank (Matt McGrath) him/herself, in platform boots, black bustier and oh yes, those fishnets.

The story is incidental. This show is for the eyes, not the brain, and Donyale Werle has created an eye-popping (though properly dingy) set, aided by projections of old-timey movies. And there’s a rocking five-piece band directed by Mike Wilkins, to bring us such favorites as “Damn It, Janet” and “The Time Warp.”

This show lost both its original star and its original director, but doesn’t appear the worse for it. Theatergoers will have a great time, and audience participation is encouraged. (You can even buy a “participation kit” at the gift shop, with appropriate participatory items.)

The details

“Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show,” plays through Nov. 6 at the Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park.

Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 pm; Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm; matinees Saturday at 4 and Sunday at 2 pm.

For tickets call (619) 234-5623 or visit HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.