Theatre Royal Brighton until 5 January 2019
Reviewed by Lisa Harlow
Richard O’Brien’s 1973 absolute cult classic kicked off its national tour in Brighton this month, running through to November 2019. This completely insane musical had me grinning ear to ear with its bonkers premise, audience camaraderie and fantastic music.
Brad (Ben Adams) and Janet (Joanne Clifton) are newly engaged and find themselves led completely astray in all manners of means, but mostly in the carnal sense by the alluring and all commanding castle-dweller transvestite Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb). Need I say more?
Dom Joly as the Narrator allows the infamous audience interjections to weave in with the dialogue, some old favourites and some new ad libs (including Dom Joly’s own bang up to date Brexit retort to ‘Sieg Heil’!). There are loyal fans in full Rocky costume in attendance leading the interactions with the cast, all of whom, leave space for the variety of responses to hold court with the scripted lines.The vocal casting was perfect. Ben Jones provides a smooth and poppy voice for the nerdy, naive Brad. Stephen Webb delivers a tear-invoking performance of I’m Going Home and Laura Harrison’s vocal as the Usherette (and Magenta) is clear cut beauty in vocal form.
My eyebrows were certainly quizzically raised at the set design at the beginning of the show with a rather basic, flat car to introduce our two main stars, but thankfully arrival at the castle soothed all wrinkles as greater sophistication, colour and light was introduced against which the cast could sizzle and sidle…and sometimes backflip. There was some later, presumably unintended, hilarity when the dry ice completely consumed the ground floor audience – who refused to take it quietly.
This show is such a great tonic for anyone needing to liberate their inner feather boa and just revel in the silly, raunchy fun and innuendo. The musical score makes your soul sing and no one can resist the Time Warp surely? A great cast performance from all involved.