On the 16th June 1973 musical theatre history was made with the first performance of a new musical that combined Hollywood ‘B’ Movies with horror, a few hummable tunes and transvestites. From a small beginning, the show grew into a worldwide phenomenon which has never been eclipsed as the best camp musical on the planet. I am of course referring to the Rocky Horror Show which is currently in residence at Richmond Theatre.
Assuming for a moment that you have just arrived from another planet, let me give you an overview of the show. Rather like the Narrator (Steve Punt) I will guide you through the world of Rocky. Young All-American boy Brad Majors (Ben Freeman) has just got engaged to his sweetheart, the perky, trainee Stepford Wife, Janet Weiss (Diana Vickers) and the two of them set off to visit their old college professor. On the way, they get a flat tyre and, in the pouring rain find an old mansion where they elicit help from the butler, Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe) and the other members of the household, the maid Magenta (Kay Murphy) and ‘hanger-on’ Columbia (Sophie Linder-Lee. It is a very strange set-up and it only gets stranger when Brad and Janet meet their host, the seductively beautiful Frank N. Furter (Liam Tamne) and his ‘special friend’ Rocky (Dominic Andersen). This is definitely a house where all is not what it seems and the normal rules do not apply.
The Rocky Horror Show is a very unusual show. Unlike most trips to the theatre, the audience are encouraged to dress up, join in with the dialogue and at certain times dance in their seats. And it is awesome because of it. The show itself is amazingly camp – believe me you will rarely see so many basques and suspenders in one place – and is ultimately a great night out. This touring production really works hard to ensure that everyone – Rocky novice or seasoned veteran alike – has a great time. Obviously this is down to a variety of reasons but before moving on to the actors I really would like to single out the ‘backroom’ people. Director Christopher Luscombe, Designer Hugh Durrant, Costumer Designer Sue Blane, Choreographer Nathan M Wright, Lighting Designer Nick Richins, and Sound Designer Gareth Owen, All of whom have really pulled out the stops to provide a performance space with wonderful scenery, costumes lighting and sound that really provide a platform for the amazing cast.
And what a team they are. Steve Punt was superb in his role as The Narrator, keeping the pace moving and interacting with the audience as various ‘extra’ off-script lines were added brilliantly. Ben and Diana were great as Brad and Janet, even managing to keep in character when someone from the audience helpfully suggested a place to find help when their car broke down. They looked the part both in costume – though Ben’s vest really should have gone – and physically, both looking every inch the cliched hero and heroine of ‘B’ movie fame. In some ways, the Rocky Horror Show can live or die by the person playing Frank n Furter and the oft heard complaint from people who see the show is “well, he was good but he’s not Tim Curry” In this case, putting all thoughts of Tim aside, I have to say that Liam Tamne was really great in the role. He looked absolutely stunning, from beautifully made up face to sequined shoes, and really exuded the sexual decadence that the character demands as he chased the idea of hedonism for its sake. Having said, that, when he sang “I’m Going Home” I have to admit to a bit of welling up and sniffles. A terrific performance. Now, picture in your mind a young, amazingly handsome adonis of a man with a perfectly sculptured body, lovely hair and an enchanting smile. That pretty much sums up Dominic Andersen as Rocky. To be fair to Dominic, he he is stunning and built like the proverbial brick outhouse but he is not just a piece of awesome eye candy, Dominic can sing, dance and act as well – this boy really is the proverbial triple threat. My one criticism, gold lamé, not leopardskin. But this is a really really minor point.
All told then, the Rocky Horror Show is everything you expect and more. Despite being a Tuesday night in conservative Richmond Upon Thames, by the end of the performance virtually everyone was on their feet, dancing the Time harp and grinning from ear to ear.
My final bit of advice to you dear reader is this. If you can’t make Richmond by Saturday then find out when the show is going to be in your area, have a quick read of the expected responses online, get out your feather bower, basque, and sequined high heels – ladies, you can dress up as well – and go along to see the mother and father of all camp musicals to enjoy one of the most entertaining and exuberant nights you will ever have in a theatre.
Review by Terry Eastham
The Rocky Horror Show Overview
The world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical is back by popular demand to thrill you once again with its frothy fun and naughty moments! Following over 40 years of worldwide productions, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is a non-stop party!
Starring Diana Vickers as Janet, Ben Freeman as Brad, Paul Cattermole as Eddie / Dr Scott, Steve Punt as Narrator and Kristian Lavercombe is back as Riff Raff.
The Rocky Horror Show Trailer – UK Tour – ATG Tickets
The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank ‘n’ Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit a college professor. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.
Featuring all of its famous musical classics, including Science Fiction/Double Feature, Sweet Transvestite, Dammit Janet and of course, the classic floor filler The Time Warp.
This is the boldest bash of them all, so sharpen those stilettos and get ready for the biggest bash in town! Be warned, this show has rude parts!
Age guidance: 12+ (parental guidance)
The Rocky Horror Show
Book Tickets for Richmond Theatre