Time warp again

The Rocky Horror Show <i>allows Frankenstein, the bride of Frankenstein and Frank-N-Furter to speak frankly. (Ha! Get it? Frankly!)</i>

The Rocky Horror Show allows Frankenstein, the bride of Frankenstein and Frank-N-Furter to speak frankly. (Ha! Get it? Frankly!)

Three shows—each different from the others—will blow through the Mondavi Center at UC Davis in the coming week. First up is a revival of The Rocky Horror Show, staged by the university’s theater and dance department. Visiting British director Glen Walford can claim valid credentials; she was working at the Royal Court Theatre in London when the original Rocky Horror Show opened in 1973.

In 1973, David Bowie was at the height of his provocatively androgynous phase, having released Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Nobody had heard of AIDS, and nobody owned a personal computer. The VCR had just been introduced as a home appliance, but the VHS format was still several years off. Rocky Horror—a wildly campy, sexually omnivorous sendup of movies and musicals—enjoyed a popular run on the stage. Within 18 months, it was turned into a quickie film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is how most Americans came to know it.

The movie initially bombed, but then it found its niche at special midnight weekend screenings that continue to this day. Members of the audience, many of whom attend week after week, come in costume and act out their favorite scenes in time with the film.

Walford promised her updated stage version would be spontaneous and a bit unpredictable. “With the film, people know exactly what’s coming next, and they respond accordingly,” Walford said. “We will have live actors and a live band … no two shows will be quite the same.” Be advised that the stage version contains some music that was cut in the film and that the film’s dinner-party scene is not part of the live show.

The audience is encouraged to attend in costume, and various props will be sold in the lobby before each performance. The Rocky Horror Show will be performed at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday, 11 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $14-$25.

The Mondavi Center also will host two professional productions by the Aquila Theatre Company, which mounts a pair of shows annually in New York and London and then tours them. Aquila’s double bill generally features one play by Shakespeare and one play based on a popular literary classic. This year’s selections are Twelfth Night (which plays on March 4) and H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man (on March 3). Both shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13-$36. Call (530) 754-ARTS or visit www.mondaviarts.org for more info.