Learning English with Paris Cast Sweet Transvestites
From The Rocky Horror Fanzine "Crazed Imaginations" n° 76
By RUTH FINK-WINTER
I've been working in France since September, and hadn't seen Rocky since I left the US There's only one Rocky theater in the whole country, the Studio Galande, so I took the train to Paris
in early October…
…I really enjoyed the Sweet T's show. The preshow started with an English lesson ("asshole"/"slut") and was entertaining enough that I didn't realize until the trip home that there had been no virgin call. The show was a learning experience: by the end of the show this American was pretty sure she'd learned the word "partouze," which my dictionary informs me is "an act of debauchery involving more than two people." It came up a lot in the audience participation, which is about half and half
English/French, with some uniquely French references, like to the Paris subway and the catacombs. The Criminologist had some brilliantly funny and beautifully lettered cards with smartass comments on them, provided by Christophe. There is pretty much constant interaction with the screen throughout the show, provided by members of the cast, and there were plenty of sight gags (I liked the big sequined star sewn on Janet's underpants for There's a Light," and Brad strapped a flashlight onto his head and played Eddie's motorcycle).
The Sweet T's pride themselves on having a mostly screen-accurate show with fairly exact costumes (made in large part by Brigitte) and I have to admit I've never seen costumes that good at the Galande. As you've probably guessed "screen accurate" performance is relative ...while Brigitte went on at length about the importance of an accurate show, she also described how the general orgy on stage during Toucha had been her idea to get people to look at Magenta and Columbia during the scene instead of at Janet doing Toucha in the lap of some random audience member. Several other scenes are also performed in/over/with the audience, including throne scene, Riff's solo, Frank chasing Rocky, and both bedroom scenes. When you come to a show here, your chances of getting a cast member in your lap are very good if you're at all close to the stage.
The audience is called upon to participate frequently (at one point the entire first three rows are called into action) and really earn their nod in the final credits (where the cast announces them as "le public" and applauds the audience).
While they are very enthusiastic about involving the audience, the Sweet T's are also good about searching incoming audience members, which is good since theater patrons are limited (!) to bringing in one liter of water and a small packet of rice. Believe me, a crowd armed with 1-liter water bottles is scary enough. Bring a jacket and be prepared to get wet.
There are still a few technical glitches in the Sweet Ts show (the cast proudly showed me a large flashlight they were adding to light the show; it was sadly inadequate to the task) but the cast and crowd were very enthusiastic (there was applause after nearly every scene), and there are a few very nice props, including a gorgeous triune laser with light-up LED ends that Christophe made... swoon. Frank actually climbed up the wall to escape, and I can't blame him.
It was a very enjoyable show, and I heartily recommend the cast. Vive la France!
Ruth Fink Winter http://www.rockyhorrorcostumelist.info/costumes/