Grand Opera House York – until Saturday 15th June 2019.
Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
Already seen by over 30 million theatre goers worldwide, Richard O’Brien’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll musical returns to the UK as part of a worldwide tour. This week it is showing in York and I couldn’t wait to see it again.
After a slight delay, presume there were some technical difficulties, the Usherette (Laura Harrison, who also plays Magenta) belts out the opening number Science Fiction/Double Feature, much to the delight of the enthusiastic audience, before the curtain is pulled back and the show can begin.
This classic musical extravaganza tells the story of two sweethearts, Janet (Joanne Clifton) and Brad (James Darch), who have just gotten engaged. When their car breaks down, they decide to go for help and stumble on the eerie castle of Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb), and his houseful of very strange indeed, groupies, led by the creepy butler Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe, who has over 1,300 performances under his belt). Brad and Janet find their innocence flying out of the window, both being seduced by the mad scientist, Transylvanian Transvestite, Frank N Furter.
What follows is a dazzling, chaotic, wacky musical. It has a narrator, on this occasion Steve Punt, who steers us through the story, all the while being heckled by the audience. This can be very strange at first, but it is actively encouraged and Rocky Horror fans know just what to shout out and when. It’s very entertaining to listen to the interaction and Punt’s quick wit in his replies.
Clinton is a very perky Janet, exaggerating her reactions, reminded me of the old Carry On films. She was engaging to watch and sang and danced with passion. Darch’s Brad was quite different, the nerd being corrupted by all around him. Webb as Frank N Furter was just so compelling to watch, he commands the stage in those fishnet stockings and high heels, and he can sure sing. His rendition of I’m Coming Home was delivered with such real emotion.
I must also mention Callum Evans as Rocky, Frank N Furter’s creation. He is all muscle, posing around in his tight animal print briefs, he certainly got the audience hot and bothered. Not only did he show off his muscular physique, but also his fantastic acrobatic skills, somersaulting all over the stage with such apparent ease. He could also sing and act, what a package. The whole cast are a credit to the whole show, a complete package.
Rocky has the feel of a pantomime, but it is so much more than that with its great music, non-more so than the iconic The Time Warp, which always has the audience up on their feet dancing away, well as much as you can in a packed theatre. A story about a cross-dressing alien from planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania, shouldn’t work, but is so does. It first made an appearance, on stage, 46 years ago this month and is still going strong. Rocky has such a devout following, so you can expect to turn up to the theatre to find plenty of people dressed up. Men in stockings and suspenders, ladies in red curly wigs or gold top hats,
This show is pure entertainment, and even if you don’t get dressed up, you are sure to have a blast, so with a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, make sure you get your ticket whilst you can. A word of warning though, I was going to go again at the weekend with a few friends in all our Rocky gear and wanting to sit in the stalls, best place to sit to get the full interactive affect in my opinion, only to find that they had all sold out, left it too late. Make sure you get your tickets in plenty of time for this fabulous fun show.