rocky horror picture show, montreal mainline theatre, mainline theatre, tim curry, the kitten life

Seated snugly next to a hundred or so Montrealers in the intimate cove of the MainLine Theatre, Nicole and I were giddy with tipsiness from our pre-gamed 1664 tallboys and buzzing with the energy of the crowd around us.

MainLine theatre director, Amy Blackmore, welcomed the audience, asking who had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show before and who hadn’t, and then left us with a, “You never forget your first Rocky…” said with a wink, as the scene went black and the band started up.

Falling into the latter category, I knew I was in for something special and I felt oddly inspired by the fact the only notion I had towards what was to be expected was an image of Tim Curry, in drag, lounging in a pair of juicy lips.

As a cult classic and a cinematic experience that’s been around for over 40 years (it’s the longest running movie in history), I was in the unique position of being able to act as a tabula rasa, and based solely on that iconic image, what was I to expect?

Absolutely not the sexual empowerment that transcended age, gender, sexual orientation, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when you go into something purely for entertainment value and come away feeling inspired and grateful for the deeply creative people of the world who are willing to push boundaries to raise the baseline of consciousness in our society.

Tim Curry, the original Frank-N-Furter said that the film is, “a chance for people to try on a few roles for size, you know? Figure out, help them maybe figure out their own sexuality.”

Beyond those dressed in drag, both on stage and in the audience, Elyann Quessy and Anthony Schuller who played Janet and Brad, did an exceptional job portraying the sexual evolution of two “innocent" young people. Seeing Brad transformed, singing his little heart out in fishnets, heels and a corset is truly one of those tear-jerker moments when you think about how many people don’t get to live authentic lives, let alone play with what it means to be able to embody different versions of themselves during a lifetime.

Columbia, played by the inimitable Maxine Segalowitz, and Riff Raff, played by the wickedly eccentric Franco De Crescentis, were phenomenal singers, but they really stole the show with their ability to throw themselves into the role and their bodies around the stage, prompting some of the biggest cheers of the night from the captive audience.

Getting to the mantra of the play, "Don’t dream it, be it,” I can only imagine the thousands of little boys and girls who sneakily caught a late night run of the movie and sat glued to the screen thinking, “Yes! I can and yes I will!” The liberation incarnate seeping into the energy powering their realities and turning their most precious dreams into the way they live their lives today (and thank God for that!).

Another element of surprise for yours truly was all of the witty call-outs that the audience lovingly added to the script. One of my favourites from that night was, in response to the aforementioned mantra, someone shouted, “Be! Like Beyoncé!” Yassss Queen! 

The second was to Frank-n-Furter, played by the bodacious and supremely talented Stephanie McKenna, saying, “Cause I wanted to be dressed just the same,” to which was called out, “Was there a sale at H&M?” And worlds collide, where feminism, individualism, fashion and environmental consciousness come together in the remark made by the cross-dressing gentleman behind me.

Rocky is an equalizer on all fields while promoting individual empowerment through limitless self expression.

You can dress however you want, but please, let’s not turn to fast fashion to do it! You can be a massive slut, but please, let’s not discriminate against homosexuals along the way! You can be a virgin, but please, don’t tell me that I have to follow your moral code too! 

And as my first experience, the MainLine’s presentation was a 10 out of 10.

Up next at the MainLine Theatre is the yearly Montreal Fringe Festival, as well as a production of Hair playing November 23rd to 26th 2016, you can buy tickets here. Be sure to check them out next time you’re in Montreal!