Words: Paul Crofts Photos: Paul Crofts/The Rocky Horror Show
Hot on the heels of Saturday Night Fever, another classic musical hit the stage at Storyhouse this week – the camp, cult classic the Rocky Horror Show. Our writer Paul Crofts went along to join in the fun.
I’m almost ashamed to admit this as a fan of musical theatre but, until this week, I hadn’t actually seen the show before (I know, shocking!). But having seen the film many times and being aware of its huge fan base, I sort of knew what to expect.
Arriving at Storyhouse there was already a party atmosphere with audience members milling around the bar area, many in full costume. It’s hard to believe that this show created by Richard O’Brien is 45 years old. If the fans in Chester were anything to go by, the show will run and run and it’s easy to see why.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the show is an absolute riot of escapism from start to finish, something much need in these testing times, although Boris Johnson did get a mention, thanks to the quick witted interjections by former Darling Buds of May and Heartbeat star Philip Franks as the Narrator who coped effortlessly with the responses to lines being shouted out by the enthusiastic audience – all part of the fun, once you get used to it.
Ex Strictly star Joanne Clifton shines as the naive but ultimately lustful Janet opposite the excellent James Darch as Brad as a whole new world of sexual possibilities open up before them both thanks to the formidable presence of “sweet Transexual” Frank N Furter, played by Stephen Webb. Webb struts and preens his way around the stage, the audience lapping up his every suggestive move. Two stand outs for me were Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff, more than filling O’Brien’s shoes as Frank’s servant, and Callum Evans as Rocky, trading the iconic gold hot pants of the film for leopard print but equally skin tight.
There were some impressive vocals from the cast and the live band directed by George Carter did a stellar job, perched on a gantry at the back of the fanstastical set. The show features all the iconic numbers from the film including the legendary Time Warp, which got the audience up on their feet, singing, dancing those obligatory dance moves and roaring their approval at the end like nothing I’ve ever heard before. There are fans and then there are Rocky Horror fans. This cult show certainly has a loyal, loud and enthusiastic fan base.
The show is a rip-roaring fast paced celebration of camp and a bonkers homage to the Sci-Fi and horror movies of the 1950s. Sheer unadulterated fun, it’s certainly one I will seek out again.
We give the Rocky Horror Show a Timewarptastic 5 stars.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Rocky Horror Show runs at Storyhouse until Saturday 21 September. See the Storyhouse.com website for full details.