A wholesome young couple, so sweet you could ‘gobble them up’, get sucked into the all-singing, all-dancing word of Dr Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite from the planet Transsexual in Transylvania. Aliens, Nazis, corsets, Frankenstein, and chain saw massacres; this is the world of the Rocky Horror show, as directed by Christopher Luscombe. A raunchy, shocking, sexual, extravaganza of colour, dance and suspenders that is both absolutely mad and terrific fun.
Amongst the madness lies a hugely talented cast, who perform the rock and roll song numbers with huge energy and fabulous choreography. Top songs include ‘Sweet Transvestite’, ‘Touch-A Touch-A Touch me’, ‘Hot Patootie-Bless My Soul’, and ‘The Time Warp’. Janet ( Dani Harmer), and Brad (Ben Forster) are initially the embodiment of everything naïve and pure, yet eventually lose their inhibitions (and their clothes) and embrace their wild side. Henry Davis, (Rocky) is suitably gorgeous, flexing his muscles in his leopard print underpants whilst maintaining a constant level of nativity and confusion at the entire situation.
A raunchy, shocking, sexual, extravaganza of colour, dance and suspenders
However it is the devious yet lovable Dr Frank-N-Furter (Oliver Thornton) who steals centre stage, strutting about in 9 inch heels with unbelievable dexterity and flexibility. His voice is fantastic, and everything he does and says possesses a seductive naughtiness that delights the audience. When an unfortunate audience members phone went off, he stopped mid-song, raised one penciled eye-brow and purred ‘are you going to answer that?’, awarding him whoops and cheers from the entire theatre.
Absolutely mad and terrific fun.
The Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard O’Brien and first performed in the West End in 1973, has a famously dedicated fan base, which was instantly apparent last night. The majority of the audience were dressed to impress, with feather boas aplenty and a more fishnet tights than you could count. Many audience members had clearly memorised certain heckles, gags and one-liners, shouting them out in time and singing along. Although occasionally irritating, this audience participation was a major feature of the performance, and the actors dealt with such hecklers with huge confidence and wit. Phillip Franks (narrator) was particularly amusing, whose dry and comic retorts to the heckles made even his co-star Dani Harmer corpse on stage, much to the glee of the entire audience. The fact we all got our bags checked before entry for items such as toilet paper, confetti, water pistols, and toast is testament to the commitment of Rocky Horror fans, who we were told regularly throw such items onto the stage at various famous lines (everyone ‘toast’ the happy couple…)
Such energy and vibrancy was not just refreshing, but addictive.
And now, like the thousands of people world-wide, we are hooked. Never has a performance gripped an audience with such uniformity, completely lifting all theatre pretensions, giving everybody an absolutely fantastic night. To our right sat a conservative middle-aged couple in black tie, and behind us were a line of transvestites, yet once the ‘Time Warp’ began to play the entire audience leapt up out of their seats, thrusting and clapping along together. As first time viewers of the Rocky Horror show, such energy and vibrancy was not just refreshing, but addictive. We are both keen to see the show again (and again) – it is absolutely one not to be missed.
Alice Child and Eve Wersocki Morris
The Rocky Horror Show runs from Mon 23rd September – Sat 28th September at the Theatre Royal. For more information on how to book tickets visit the website: http://www.trch.co.uk/index.aspx?articleid=20734