Writer: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Sharon MacDonald-Armitage
Southampton comes alive to the sight of neon wigs, laddered fishnets and “sweet transvestites” as The Mayflower, Southampton welcomes the myriad of freaks that were there to see Rocky Horror Show. This Richard O’Brien cult classic is now celebrating 40 years of success and the enthusiasm for this show looks as strong as ever.
From the pink lurid boudoir curtains to the vivid neon strip lighting The Mayflower stage is transformed by set designer Hugh Durrant, into a fabulous 1950’s B movie set; complete with obligatory castle and laboratory. The tackiness of the set is in keeping with the total nonsense of the story; transsexuals from planet Transylvania taking every opportunity to cause mayhem on planet Earth, thrusting and time warping their way through their sexual desires.
An absolutely fabulous performance is given by Oliver Thornton as Frank-N-Furter, his transsexual scientist strutting around the stage in heels, wearing a corset and cracking a whip, brings sheer sexiness to the rôle. You could hear the audible intake of jealous breath by most women (and some men) as Thornton struts around stage in vertiginous heels with incredible ease; there really should be a law about how wonderful this man’s legs can appear when wearing stockings. When he enters to the opening of Sweet Transvestite the audience are already at fever pitch and his comic timing particularly when dealing with hecklers is a blast; amazing what a look and flash of thigh can do in reply to some of the extremely close to the knuckle well rehearsed shout outs. But this is all part of the show. In fact the audience is another cast member.
Janet played by Dani Harmer puts in a sterling performance and her voice is a pleasant surprise however, physically she appears to be slightly miscast and a little lost on the stage. Sam Attwater’s Brad is a revelation, such confidence when singing even when wearing the most unbecoming of underpants. Local boy David Gale swings in as Rocky and plays the part to perfection even though he appears a little less ‘beefy’ than required for the rôle. Despite clearly well used and rehearsed heckles, Philip Franks as the Narrator gives a first-rate performance engaging with the audience and giving excellently well timed put downs.
This is not a show for the subdued, you need to be prepared to put up with the leery audience and lewd language and most importantly be prepared to join in; at least for the Time-Warp. A good fun filled adult night out.
Runs until 18th May 2013