Rocky Horror Show

"An outrageous, fun and debauched night out"

From the pen of Richard O’Brien, the Rocky Horror Show has been delighting audiences for nearly 50 years and on the basis that the auditorium at the Malvern Theatre was full to the brim, it’s pretty clear that this show still has legions of fans, some could say it has cult status.  Many audience members dress as their favourite characters and this only adds to the pretty bonkers night out!

The story, as the opening song announces, is complete science fiction, featuring aliens from the planet ‘Transexual, Transylvania’.  If you’re looking for a deep and meaningful story, you’re definitely at the wrong show.  This musical is not for the story, but for the outrageous fun that ensues from the get-go. We are greeted by the Usherette (Jess Sole) who opens the show with ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’.  Sole has a stunning voice and as she doubles up as Magenta, it’s clear that she has star quality.  At this point the audience participation starts.  I think this is the only show I’ve been to where this is actively encouraged and in fact, you’re waiting for it to start!

We meet Brad (Richard Meek) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) in their car which subsequently breaks down.  Meek and Flaherty are perfectly cast in their roles.  The vocals from Meek specifically were outstanding, somewhat of a velvety tone which was very welcome during ‘Super Heroes’.  Flaherty plays the ‘ditzy’ Janet very well.  This the second time I’ve seen her perform in the role and the performance is still as fresh.  As Brad and Janet try to find a phone to call a mechanic to fix their car, they come across a house and once inside their lives are changed forever!

Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff is a scene stealer in every sense.  He has played the character for over 2000 performances in many of the touring productions all over the world and the mannerisms, the gait and the overall demeanour is just spot on.  Of course, Riff Raff’s moment to shine and of course an audience favourite is during the ‘Time Warp’.  We all know the dance moves in our sleep, and it only takes the first few bars before some audience members are up on their feet to join in.

This joyous moment is quickly followed by my personal favourite from the show, ‘Sweet Transvestite’.  Here we meet Frank N Furter played magnificently by Stephen Webb.  Playing the sex crazed being, Webb really has it all! The voice, the look and the performance really do capture this iconic role and I loved everything about his portrayal.

As I said, the story really doesn’t matter too much in this show, as it’s so bonkers anyway it kind of goes over your head.  The joy is from the comedic performances, the brilliant tunes, and the audience participation.  The whole thing is held together by the Narrator played by Jackie Clune.  From the first time we see Clune, she completely has the audience in the palm of her hand with clever up to the moment quips, even including a mention of Matt Hancock and his appearance on ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’.  Needless to say, this received rapturous applause and set the tone of the evening perfectly. As this show has such a following of people who probably know the script better than the performers, they have to be ready for anything thrown at them and as the Narrator, Clune absolutely nailed it!

The staging and set, designed by Hugh Durrant takes you inside Frank N Furter’s house, his lab and bedroom and worked really well to set the scene. There was an impressive lighting display by Nick Richings with the use of many coloured spotlights which were blinding at points but added to the overall look.  The music under the direction of Charlie Ingles was, I felt, perhaps a little too loud at times, however the soundtrack to this iconic musical was delivered superbly.

There are many stand out moments during this show but if you are prudish in any form, then this show is really not for you as the opening of Act 2 will confirm!  If you are considering seeing the show for the first time, please go with an open mind and give yourself over to absolute pleasure, in the words of Frank N Furter!

The Rocky Horror Show is at the Malvern Theatre until the 3rd December. Tickets available here: https://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/whats-on/rocky-horror-show-2/

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