MusicalReviewSouth East

The Rocky Horror Show – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Writer: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Lu Greer

By this point surely everyone must know the story of The Rocky Horror Show, right? Or at the very least, everybody knows that it’s a catchy musical with transvestites in it, something about aliens, and every time it comes to town there seems to be a large gathering of strangely dressed people in the vicinity of the city.

The story of the squeaky clean Brad and Janet being led astray by the ghoulish and outlandish Frank-N-Furter has been running for longer than quite a few of the audience members have been alive, and outside of the flamboyantly dressed faithful, is one that runs the risk of getting old. Everybody knows the audience participation. Everybody knows the one liners. Everybody knows The Rocky Horror. And, yet…

The combination of a brief West End revival and Fox pushing the new television incarnation into every advertising nook and cranny mean that the show has suddenly been handed the opportunity to once again bring in a new audience, as long as it can find ways to remain fun for those it has already ensnared in its fishnets. This incarnation of show certainly shoots for mixing it up a little, with new nuances to songs and unseen gags, unfortunately, it mostly misses.

While Haley Flaherty (Janet) and Richard Meek (Brad) give solid performances, they’re somewhat overshadowed by an off putting Paul Cattermole as Eddie/Dr Scott whoseems unsure of his own accent, and by Liam Tamne’s Frank-N-Furter making some strange singing choices which entirely skip over audience participation pauses.

The show is somewhat saved, however, by Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff), Sophie Linder-Lee (Magenta), and Steve Punt (Narrator). Rocky Horror is a show that performers either get, or they don’t. They either revel in the ridiculous script, the cringe-worthy costumes and the fluffed lines, or they shy away from it. This trio not only embrace it, they live it. Lavercombe and Linder-Lee bounce off each other with a chemistry that almost rivals the original Quinn and O’Brien, and Steve Punt keeps the audience, and himself, laughing throughout.

This version of the show isn’t offering anything new. While it is offering a smattering of excellent casting and some excellent comic timing, it is missing that spark that Rocky Horror audiences have come to expect. However, none of that will matter to the majority of the people attending the show. What matters is simple: There is dancing. There is heckling. There are more pairs of fishnets than should ever congregate in one room.

Runs until September 17 2016 | Image: Contributed

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