Writer: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Jess Rowe
Forty-three years on from its debut performance at London’s Royal Court Theatre, The Rocky Horror Show continues to be a timeless theatrical experience for any theatre-goer. As well as recently receiving a FOX remake to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the motion picture cult classic, it is now on its 11th UK Tour proudly making a revisit back to the more than welcoming city of Bath.The satirical, intentionally B-movie themed, science-fictional musical tells the story of the innocent and naive couple Brad and Janet (Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty) whose car breaks down on the way to announce their engagement to a former college professor. It is not until they ‘pass a castle back down the road a few miles’ that their lives change perception for good, under the hospitality of a sweet talking, transvestite scientist known as Frank N Furter (Liam Tamne).
Tamne’s interpretation is beautifully original with an upstart kind of naughtiness. Applying a southern accent to the role it makes more logical sense to the character, alongside his fluidity and freestyling riffs that create more touching moments in the production. Richard Meek’s portrayal of Brad Majors is slick and loveable, with a remarkable vocal ability capturing the audience through the lesser known song Once in a While. A similar talent reveals to be in Kristian Lavercombe who creates remarkable stage presence as the role of Riff Raff, belting some breathtaking notes at unexpected moments. However, the true star of the evening is Lauren Ingram – ringing a goofy yet charmingly refreshing take on the role while smashing some of the highest notes in the show.
The use of a small and simplistic set and stage space allows the bridge between the actors and audience to stay intimate which is perfect due to the interaction expected in the piece. With the show being renowned for being at the disposal of its audience due to the famous heckles committed fans will shout out in unison, the role of The Narrator; Philip Franks, actively engages by directly responding to the call outs making the well-known script still hilarious and fresh. Likewise, the production is instinctively an audience favourite, with the majority dressing up as the characters and dancing to Time Warp in the aisles. The show also features its much-loved score of Dammit Janet, Sweet Transvestite and Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul), all beautifully lead by Ben Van Tienen and his band creating a lasting atmosphere of electrifying vibrancy to the production.
With its constant focus on self-liberation and sexual innuendos, the production is obviously only for an adult audience. Thus, even after participating in the heckling towards the start; the audience gives a touching respect to Tamne’s Don’t Dream It, Be It.
To any theatregoer, this show is a must. To any Rocky Horror virgin, you have not lived until you ‘give yourself over to absolute pleasure’.
Runs until 19 November 2016, as part of a UK Tour | Image: Sean Webb