Music and Lyrics: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Maggie Constable
Since The Rocky Horror Show was very first staged at the Royal Court Theatre in good ole 1973, it has sustained and encouraged a huge cult following, aided by the excellent film which followed in its tracks some two years later. And so here we are some 40 years afterwards celebrating its anniversary as part of a significant tour of the provinces now directed by Christopher Luscombe. Safe to say that this show still attracts big audiences and those who are ever ready to dress up in a whole array of Rocky Horror costumes as with this evening, from the suspenders and basques to the tailcoat! This is a phenomenon of which its creator, Richard O’Brien, should be rightly proud. Once more The Rocky Horror Show is at Milton Keynes to enthralll and titillate and involve the audience like no other show really, whether it’s dressing up or predicting and singing along to every word! It’s an impossibility not to get off your feet and act like a mad alien when The Time Warp starts up. And this latest production, directed so sharply by the talented Christopher Luscombe, well it has such a proliferation of smutty innuendos and heckles from the Rocky Horrorites out front, who know the script every which way, the cast almost don’t manage to get a word in edgeways. However, the extremely quick-witted and droll Philip Franks, the Narrator, is more than a match for any heckler!
On entering the theatre, the audience at once comes across a derelict movie theatre, complete with tatty, dusty old curtain, as Maria Coyne’s Usherette introduces them to tonight’s “Science Fiction Double Feature” with the apt squeaky voice. The show, as most will know, tells the tale of the newly-engaged and apparently tres straight Brad Majors and his dippy, naive fiancée Janet Weiss after their car malfunctions (as is always the case in all good horror films) and they seek help and a place to stay in a house close by. Said abode belongs to one Dr Frank-N-Furter – a metrosexual transvestite scientist. But naturellement, all is not as it might first appear (it never is in these movies!), and soon the young couple find themselves most literally thrust (ooh la la!) into a world full of rampant sexuality, sensuality and very dark humour.
The diminutive Dani Harmer gives a solid performance as Janet and her rendition of Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me is excellent..Dancing On Ice’s 2011 winner Sam Attawater plays Brad to a tee. He is brilliant embodying the sweet, naive nature of the geeky college boy, but with humour. His facial expressions are amazing and his singing both powerful and melodic. Who would have thought ?! Ceris Hine’s very ditzy and funny Columbia is spot on and she too has a strong voice. Tonight Maria Coyne bravely stepped into the rôle of Magenta as well as usherette and she warmed to the rôle in the second half while being somewhat understated in the first. Henry Davis brings a little bit of extra umph to the rôle of Rocky whereas Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff is uncannily like a young Richard O’Brien. Great fun! Oliver Thornton as the alluring Frank N Furter has a very pervasive charisma, lovely tones in his speaking and singing voice and boy can he pout! He brings a special something to the rôle that you just can’t put your hands on, so to speak! And what energy and suppleness of movement.
Hugh Durrant’s set is cleverly designed and used well, perfectly describing the eerie castle, the labs and the boudoir. It is great to have a live orchestra up in the Gods of the stage. A sound job, pardon the pun, if a little loud at times so that occasionally you cannot hear all the words (even if you can sing them all anyway!) The choreography is well adapted to a small stage and some very good dance performances.
Altogether a totally tantalising as soiree!
Runs until Sat 20 July 2013
Picture: Manuel Harlan