Get ready to be transported to Transylvania in the latest world tour of the ultimate cult classic, Rocky Horror, as it embarks upon its 50th year on stage.
For those unfamiliar with the iconic piece, newly engaged couple Brad (Richard Meek) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) have a broken down car and a stormy night to contend with. When seeking help from a castle en route, they enter the world of transvestite scientist, Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb), and his equally wild accompaniments. Outrageously naughty and utterly hilarious, with a soundtrack featuring some of the greatest hits of film and theatre, this is one everyone should see in their lifetime to say they have done so.
Although not possibly the one for a first time theatregoer, there certainly is space for a growing audience of those unknown to the show, despite the potential intimidation from hardcore fans. Encouraging the smashing of the fourth wall left, right and centre, part of the somewhat surreal experience is being immersed in the fun, making this a gem of a show unlike any other.
Seeming essential to arrange a return trip to capture it all, the interactions differ each time, therefore providing something new with each performance. There's no obligations to be personally involved either, so it's also possible to sit back and let it happen around you. Some immensely creative costumes were seen from audience members, and props to match a few of the songs too, which were brilliant to enjoy. Alongside this, there is nothing better than soaking up addictive dose of escapism through the entirely wacky storyline that Rocky Horror journeys through.
Stephen Webb puts his spin on Frank N Furter in a way that makes it irresistible to get drawn into the eccentricity of the character. His sexually alluring attitudes are gripping, and vocals that certainly do justice to the complexity and impact required when performing, especially numbers like 'Sweet Transvestite'. Undoubtedly, prior to this, 'Time Warp' is adored too, with many of the audience also partaking in those moves.
Haley Flaherty brings depth to her role as Janet, and Suzie McAdam too, as Magenta and the Usherette opening the show, display a beautiful singing tone. Darcy Finden as Columbia and Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff embrace their quirky personalities to match the overall atmosphere. Playing Rocky, Ben Westhead becomes the creation, and Joe Allen gives an electric rendition of 'Hot Patootie- Bless My Soul' as Eddie. Generally, it seemed as though the second act was lacking something, while it was less interactive and engaging as the first, perhaps as it becomes evermore bizarre, but still very amusing- and rude!
It quickly becomes easy to see why Richard O'Brien's writing is so timeless, when some elements of the script harbour simplicity, yet alongside excellent characterisation from the cast involved, they come across as very witty and appealing to audiences, and probably always will for years ahead. Furthermore, the Narrator- played faultlessly by Philip Franks- brought a lot of value to his adlibs, particularly with relevant political quips when in response to hecklers, adding the fresh dynamic to the piece (that on one occasion were so funny, it caused a break of character from another actor... damn it, Janet!).
As an accustomed touring production, the set design by Hugh Durrant is ideal for its purpose; nothing too extravagant, but fitting and effective nevertheless. Nathan Wright's choreography brings another dimension to this, with direction by Christopher Luscombe and lighting by Nick Richings that complements well to make for thoughtful staging. Costume changes by Sue Blane are accounted for to ensure each lace corset is flaunted adequately.
With incredible songs, compelling characters and theatrical concepts with regards to an audience that aren't seen anywhere else, Rocky Horror continues to carry on its long legacy to yet another generation. It's impossible not to want to join in by the end, and you’ll be time warping your way home too. Don your fishnets, and book yourself some tickets now: get there without antici...pation.