Tim Oberholzer will pack up his garters and wigs and leave for Transexual, Transylvania after his upcoming performance in Vanity Project’s production of The Rocky Horror Show.
It seems a suitable project for the theatre company that gave us another rock musical last year in Ottawa — a quite successful production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s also an appropriate send-off for Oberholzer, who’ll shift from transgender — his much-acclaimed performance as Hedwig — to gender-fuck for his role as Dr Frank N Furter, the mad transvestite who invites Brad and Janet to stay the night while he gets them a Satanic mechanic to mend their broken-down car.
This isn’t the traditional The Rocky Horror Picture Show experience where you go and watch the movie and be rowdy in a charmingly shabby old theatre. The Rocky Horror Show is still, in essence, the B-movie tribute we know and love, but it’s the rarely seen musical on which the 1975 film is based; it can be a stimulating new experience, even for those who’ve seen the movie dozens of times.
But what of the audience participation — the yelling, throwing things and shedding of clothing — that usually occurs when people go out to see the movie? With all the sinister seductiveness his character displays when persuading Brad and Janet to stay the night and witness the unveiling of his latest creation, Oberholzer assures us this production won’t leave behind what’s made the movie experience so popular.
“The show’s very similar to the movie, but the show itself didn’t gain a lot of popularity until the movie, and even the movie wasn’t a huge hit until the audience stuff started to happen later on,” he says. “We’re not sure how much of the audience will be expecting to just see the show and how much will come expecting the movie experience, so we’ve added the traditional call-back lines, and a few [surprises].”
This will be Oberholzer’s last performance in Ottawa for the foreseeable future, because this summer he is moving to his version of Transexual, Transylvania: Vancouver. But before he makes the trip, he’s glad that his last performance is at The Gladstone. “The Gladstone has a special place in my heart. It’s where I started doing theatre. It’ll be a fun way to say goodbye to the patrons who’ve been very good to the theatre and to me.”