Grand Theatre, Leeds – 31 October to 5 November 2016
What better place to be at Halloween than the beautiful Leeds Grand Theatre to see the Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show.
Less of a show and more of an immersive experience Rocky Horror is the definition of kitsch. Audience participation, whether in theatres and cinemas, has of course played a part in making it a long-runner and it wasn’t a disappointment last night. A campy, musical spoof on the haunted-castle horror movie genre, encompassing a ’70s glam-rock world of androgyny with characters that are more than offbeat. Performed on a cartoonish-coloured, low-fi set – topped by a celluloid curl which contains the band, the show is bursting with energy and the action ticks along at a happy pace
Richard Meek (Brad) and Haley Flaherty (Janet) both deftly manage the transition from virginal couple to depraved disciples of Frank, and both have the chance to showcase their fine voices which more than match the pulsating band. Dominic Andersen is the titular Rocky and its more his pectoral muscles that are on show rather than his vocal ones and he carries off the role with sufficient skill.
Ex Coronation Street Actor, Charlie Condou as The Narrator turns in a genuinely witty performance, fully embracing the camp madness of it all – adeptly fending off the very vocal asides of the crowd both scripted and unscripted. I do hope he got his promised reward for getting through his first speech! Paul Cattermole duel roles as Eddie and his Uncle, the wheel chair bound Dr Scott
Kay Murphy as Magenta and Sophie Linder-Lee as Columbia are both magnificent – all legs and screaming sexuality. Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff is a revelation, with his powerful voice, he is almost more Riff Raff than the original performed by Richard O’Brien. He has played the part now more times than the great Mr O’Brien
Rightfully though, the show belongs to Frank. And as Frank n Furter, Liam Tamne does a rare thing indeed, by managing to convey both a more tender side to the character and an ever more mercurial one at the same time. His attraction and menace are skilfully portrayed. And he also looks so utterly stunning that it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him when he’s on stage. Every eyebrow raised or lick of the lips is met with roars of approval by the crowd. A sublime performance.
No one escapes the fishnets as we are taken into the bizarre world of Frank and friends – guided by legendary numbers like The Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite and Dammit, Janet! – it’s clear that the show doesn’t have an outrageous reputation without reason. Packed full of mischief, innuendos and vulgarity it’s bound to make you laugh, cringe and everything in- between.
In Leeds until Saturday 5 November and on tour around the UK