Rocky Horror party brings shadow acting, drag to Buffalo

'Rocky Horror Picture Show’ screening brings the sexy to 43-year Halloween tradition

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Most movie-goers head to theaters with pockets full of smuggled sweets. 

But on Friday night, the Riviera Theatre provided a different kind of viewing essential for guests.

Scott toilet paper. 

The Riviera Theatre, located in North Tonawanda, hosted its 12th annual “Rocky Horror Picture Show Party” Friday where roughly 1,100 Rocky Horror groupies showed up with “prop bags” in hand for a night of “visual and abysmal” shenanigans. The night, which lasted from 9:30 p.m. until 2 a.m., included a screening of the film along with shadow actors –– who acted out the film as it was playing –– and burlesque dancers. The dancers and drag queens performed a dazzling display of routines prior to the screening of the film. A fan-oriented costume extravaganza then opened the main attraction, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening. 

 “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which first aired in 1975, follows the story of a newly engaged couple Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) as they are forced to spend a stormy night at the castle of an alien –– Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) –– from planet “Transsexual” in the galaxy of “Transylvania.” Furter, during the course of the couple’s stay,  creates the perfect male specimen as a play-thing and exposes Brad and Janet to many sexual adventures and mishaps. 

Fans knew every line of the film. During the screening, they threw toast, uncooked rice and playing cards onto the stage –– all authentic aspects of the cult-classic film.

 Burlesque dancer Shia LaGoof and drag queen Jayme Coxx acted as co-hostesses for the opening of the evening, which featured live dance numbers from local troops. 

SIDDHARTH BANDHU | The Spectrum

Jaymee Coxx performs at Riviera Theatre.


The Eye Candy Burlesque Vixens and Ladies of Illusion enticed the crowd with sensual routines that were almost fit for the silver screen. 

Mounds, a member of the Vixens, performed her first-ever solo routine decorated with vibrant red makeup and her body covered in cherry-red balloons. With a little bit of popping and grooving to “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte, Mounds elegantly stripped down to just a red lacy bikini. Needless to say, she ended that night no longer a solo-performance virgin. 

 Local drag queen Bebe Bvlgari stole the live portion of the show with a compelling number set to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” She was dressed in a white sequin jumpsuit, feathery robe and large sexy wig. The crowd screamed with excitement when the seasoned queen jumped and split, showcasing her athletic excellence.

 Mounds and Bvlgari were two of many performers who made the beginning of the night a thrill for fans. 

Burlesque and drag are the perfect way to start a “Rocky Horror” party, but the only way to end one is with a screening of the film, straight from the reaches of Transylvania itself.

 Actors from The Francis Bacon Experiment seamlessly mirrored the characters on screen during the film.

Fans waited in antici ... pation to pull out their coveted props and sing-along to the ‘70s ballads of the film. 

 The crowd threw rice and toilet paper, sounded noise makers and sprayed water pistols as a ritualistic way of matching the film’s events. For those unaccustomed to the Rocky Horror treatment, there was no need to ache over their smiling faces, because it was easy for anyone to have a good time. 

 The crowd shouted obscenities every time Brad and Janet entered the scene and memorized a script of other phrases like, “Sing it b---h!” and “Don’t touch the hair!” 

 The most crowd-rousing moment was during fan-favorite song “Time Warp” (written by Richard O’Brien), when knowing the dance wasn’t even necessary to join in. Almost every member of the audience jumped to the left, stepped to the right and put their hands on their hips in true Transylvanian style. 

 Underneath the innuendos, props and costumes, the Rocky Horror experience is meant to take participants on a strange journey of acceptance and individuality that will leave any audience members feeling like they’re finally home. 

The arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.