Writer: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Chris Williams
What else is there to say about The Rocky Horror Show – the 43-year-old musical that lovingly spoofs 50s/60s B movies, with added transvestites? After all that time the fans keep coming again and again, fans new and… well, less new.
The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of a newly engaged, all-American couple – Brad and Janet – getting caught in a storm and seeking help at the home of transvestite, mad-scientist Frank N Furter – a sort of pansexual Frankenstein – on the night he’s unveiling his new creation: Rocky, a fully grown perfect specimen, a muscle man “with brown hair [in this production] and a tan”, fully embodied (pun intended) by Dominic Andersen.
This particular musical has never been stale, but last year’s successful and limited return to the West End seems to have given this touring production something extra. The only returning cast members are Kristian Lavercombe and Sophie Linder-Lee as Riff Raff and Columbia, you can never go over the top with the roles in this show, and these two actors have honed their characters’ scenery chewing to the limit.
The cast is clearly having as much fun as the audience, the one cast member who seemed to be quite enjoying it was Steve Punt as the Narrator, with a career in comedy Punt is used to an audience but he seemed to be lapping up the audience participation as if he hadn’t been hearing it since last December. Brad, Janet and Eddie/Dr Scott are the least fun characters (in comparison) with less scope to play around than the others, the casting of X Factor’s Diana Vickers and Emmerdale’sPaul Cattermole, might not fill some with excitement but none of them put a musical foot wrong, with Cattermole having two of the show’s most fun songs: Hot Patootie and Eddie’s Teddy.
Then there’s Frank. Having not heard of Liam Tamne, his casting seemed to be the wildcard, how wrong that turned out to be. His Frank N Furter was both immature and threatening, and easily flipped between butch and camp while being constantly malevolent. After training at Laine Theatre Arts, Tamne had a full theatre CV before appearing on BBC’s The Voice. Obviously his singing was too ‘musical’ for them, as his performance of I’m Going Home – one of the show’s truly emotional song among all the comedy – is a standout of the night.
Although less of them went all out in ways of dressing up, it seemed like a Saturday night audience had turned up on a Monday evening, they were applauding before Kay Murphy’s Usherette had even opened her mouth to sing Science Fiction/Double Feature.
If this is what the show is like on the Monday of their week run in Cardiff, I can only imagine how wild the Saturday performance will be!
Runs until13 February 2016 | Image: Contributed