REVIEW: ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, Alexandra Theatre

The Rocky Horror Show‘, Alexandra Theatre

  On their way to visit a former college professor, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss break down outside creepy mansion, Frankenstein Place. They go inside seeking a telephone, but instead come face to face with Dr Frank n Furter, who is in the middle of one of his maniacal experiments.

  The world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical returns in this brand new production by Christopher Luscombe, which marks the show’s 40th anniversary with a year-long UK national tour. Richard O’Brien’s legendary musical ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, seen by over 30 million theatregoers in over 30 countries, features timeless classics such as ‘Sweet Transvestite’, ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’, and the ‘Time Warp’.

Joanne Clifton (Janet) and Ben Adams (Brad) in The Rocky Horror Show. Photo credit: David Freeman

  Racy, risque, and riotous, this show will take you on a strange journey, but it is one from which you won’t want to turn back. Get ready to say hello to sweet, sexy oblivion.

  Blue star Duncan James dons corset and stilettos as he takes on the role of Frank n Furter, sweet transvestite, pleasure seeker, and mad scientist who holds the key to creating life. James is remarkable in the role, fabulously flirtatious, hugely seductive, and simply oozing with charisma. Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton are wonderful as squeaky-clean couple Brad and Janet – pure, polished and pristine. Though initially shocked at the crude behaviour they find at Frankenstein Place, they are each seduced by Frank, and give in to the sins of the flesh. Kristian Lavercombe, Laura Harrison and Miracle Chance are an utter delight as time-warping trio Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia, Harrison doubling as the charming Usherette. Callum Evans is the picture of perfection as muscle man Rocky, and Ross Chisari doubles as both Eddie and his uncle Dr Scott in what is a great turn.

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Joanne Clifton (Janet), Ben Adams (Brad) and Duncan James (Frank) in The Rocky Horror Show. Photo credit: Richard Davenport

  Brummie icon Alison Hammond takes on the role of Narrator whilst the show is playing Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre. With a natural talent for entertaining, Hammond not only aids the narrative arc through engaging storytelling, she demonstrates a sparkling wit and vivacity when putting down the many hecklers in the audience, giving as good as she got and keeping us wildly entertained.

  The show has become famous for what is now commonly referred to as counterpoint dialogue, audience participation by which members of the audience shout lines to the actors at key points during the production. Many, though not all, of the lines are scripted, and the show’s unique approach in encouraging this means that the audience participation becomes as entertaining as the show itself, often to the point that the actors struggle to keep a straight face, as the audience is howling and heckling.

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The cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Photo credit: Richard Davenport

  There’s also something really quite special about an entire audience rising to their feet together to collectively thrust their pelvises to ‘The Time Warp’.

  Ingeniously directed by Christopher Luscombe, a fast-paced, engaging and concise production, meticulously well-choreographed, the flashing lights and bright sets enhance the vibrancy of the show – from the glistening white science lab, a place of wondrous experimentation, to the other rooms of the castle, resembling ‘a hunting lodge for rich weirdos’, with the heads of animals, including the long-extinct dodo, mounted on the walls. An early sequence, the setting for song ‘Dammit Janet’, takes on a cartoon-like quality.

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The cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Photo credit: David Freeman

  A cult classic, it is easy to see why this enduring musical continues to thrill fans 40 years after its first performance. It really is astounding. A show to treasure forever.

  This fabulous, feel-good musical is wild, wacky and bizarre, but this is where its appeal lies. ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ tempts, it teases, it tantalises, and will leave you trembling with antici…pation. Thrilling, fulfilling, and downright irresistible, once you’ve had a taste of this show, you will certainly want more.

  Do yourself a favour. Go and see ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and give yourself over to absolute pleasure.

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The cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Photo credit: David Freeman

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