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The Rocky Horror Show – Theatre Royal, Brighton

Writer: Richard O’Brien

Director: Christopher Luscombe

Reviewer: Tom Finch


I would like to, if I may, tell you about The Rocky Horror Show. What can you say about Rocky Horror? From humble beginnings in a studio in London in the 1970s to arguably the world’s biggest cult hit this is a show that is defined by its fans. In some ways it would be easier to review the audience. They were loud, charismatic and their costumes were simply fabulous. In many ways they help make the show as electrifying and enjoyable as it is.

The story as you probably don’t need me to tell you begins with Janet Weiss and Brad Majors getting engaged and on a trip to visit their old science teacher when a flat tyre strands them in the middle of nowhere they are forced to seek help from the inhabitants of a castle. The rest should probably be familiar to most people seeing the show, suffice to say it involves a lot of singing, dancing and gyrating.

This new production celebrating the show’s 40th anniversary places the emphasis firmly on the smuttier side of things much to the approval of the sold out audience. This is an enjoyable take on the show and generally works well even if it means the story is occasionally lost in among the naughtiness but when the story is so well known by most of its audience that probably isn’t too big a deal.

The cast are generally very good and will no doubt ease into their rôles as the tour progresses. Ben Forster is superb as Brad and his solo number (the only song not to feature in the film) was really rather lovely to witness. What Oliver Thornton as Frank lacks in charisma he makes up for in sex appeal and he has a great voice. Rhydian is looking suitably buff as Rocky but his acting skills need a bit of toning. Philip Franks as the narrator is a sensation, gleefully taking the audience’s heckles and hitting back with some well crafted one liners; he had all of us in the palm of his hand.

This production sets itself up firmly as a fan piece and if you love the film and the show you will definitely love this. It does leave a lot of the work to the audience to make it the giddying high it should be and if there is a loud, up for it audience when you see it you will have a ball. The best way to enjoy this show has got to be to rock up in your basques and boas, cheer and woop as much as possible and get up to dance the time warp. If you go along determined to have an amazing evening; it will be a night you will remember for a very, very long time.

Runs until 5th January and then on tour.

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One comment

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    The 40th anniversary show at Brighton was the first time I’ve seen the RHS. When is it coming round next, I’ll use a Time Warp to see it again. And again. And again.

    It’s fabulous!!!!!!