Halloween is a time for ghosts, ghouls, parties and more free candy than you know what to do with. But for the Lower Ossington Theatre it’s the time for their yearly Rocky Horror Cabaret Show, and this year marks the 7thanniversary of its commencement. This cabaret style performance takes everything you love about the 1975 cult hit The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and puts it up on stage in all of its glory, complete with audience participation. This year also mark’s the change up of the most iconic character from the show Dr. Frank N. Furter, with new cast member and long-time LOT veteran Ryan Jeffrey. Jeffrey says, “I feel a complete level of privilege and honour to be taking on such an iconic role and joining a stellar cast that the Lower Ossington Theatre has been able to provide. It’s amazing to be standing on stage with these incredible actors.”
Jeffrey has a long history with Rocky Horror, which began when he was invited to a cult-viewing of the film version. From there, he began to work with Theatre Alive Productions in Brampton and took on the mantle of Dr. Frank N. Furter. “That one was more of a stage production [as opposed to a Cabaret show],” Jeffrey explains. “And It also was more… I want to say tame, just because Brampton is a little more urban and it was a community group, so we were limited to how outrageous we could go. But I find with this [Lower Ossington] production, it’s been here for so many years that people come to it, expecting it to be outrageous. The craziness and the freedoms are more apparent in this production.” Some of the craziness and freedoms that Jeffrey is referring to relates to his performance as the cross-dressing doctor. “The most important thing, with the whole premise of Frank, is that he’s supposed to be outrageous.”
Jeffrey goes on to explain how he was given freedom from the director, who gave him time to create his own process and work on the character the way he wanted to, while still keeping it iconic to the Rocky Horror franchise. Ryan Jeffrey is not only a performer in this cabaret style piece, but he is also a fan of Rocky Horror, and he went about creating his character from a fan’s perspective. And as a fan, he still has his favourite moments in the piece, which for him is the entire “Floor Show” scene. “…I know that there are a lot of songs in there, but for me, that is the freedom of the show,” says Jeffrey. “Every character up until then has reservations or has been spun to a stereotype, but the second everyone walks onto that floor shows that they’re all gorgeous, they’re all beautifully dressed and they’re all increasing their absurdity and uniqueness. And that’s what I love about the show. It doesn’t hinder anyone’s unique self. In fact, it embraces it. It says, ‘you’re different and that’s awesome.’ ”
The Rocky Horror Cabaret is continuing on, extended until Nov. 23. Start practicing your “Time Warp” dance moves and learning the lyrics to “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me.” This cult classic is alive and kicking in the heart of Toronto.