The Rocky Horror Show bounded into Richmond during its successful tour of the UK.
The story of the freakish Frank-n-Furter, and his ghouls, living in a castle, transported from another planet, and totally out of control, meet Brad and Janet. These two lovebirds have broken down and just wish to use the phone. What ensues is two hours of fabulous nonsense sung to tunes of some of the catchiest songs ever found in music theatre.
In 1973 when Richard O’Brien wrote this show, it was a camp tribute to the horror flick designed to shock us into submissive joy. There is nothing ‘B-Grade’ movie about Christopher Luscombe’s energetic production, touring the UK in 2016, it is pure sparkle, wrapped up in fishnet stockings. It no longer shocks, as it once might have (let’s face it in the intervening years everyone has seen it more than once), it is now more a celebration. An invitation to be collectively naughty and that includes the entire audience jumping to their feet singing and dancing, dressing up in your favourite character, and the true fans filling the script with interjections that act as some sort of dirty sub-text.
Kaye Murphy kicks off proceedings with a turn as the usherette, teasing us into a world of larger than life characters, bright coloured hues, and comic book horror. Her song Science Fiction/Double Feature was a highlight.
Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff sets the tone beautifully and the show bursts into life when Liam Tamne arrives. He introduces himself as “a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania”, in a star entrance, sporting the full length cape, revealing the classic bustier, suspender belt and high-heels beneath. He clearly relishes every word and gesture, ad-libbing shamelessly, his physical size and strength matched by his impressive voice and fiendish, stylish characterization.
Steve Punt, the narrator at this performance, effortlessly interacted with the fans, relished his role, enjoying the nonsense and the humour. Diana Vickers as Janet, is a joy to watch, and more than ably partnered by Ben Freeman. Their opening scene was even touching, and the humour pitch perfect. Every show should have a Kay Murphy and a Sophie Linda-Lee. As the sexy and devilish Magenta, and the all singing and dancing Columbia, they shine.
Dominic Andersen as Rocky is impossibly good looking, with the six pack body to match, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect that with such physical attributes he would also dominate the dance routines, and sing extremely well. The entire cast are strong and form an ensemble that is a tribute to their effort and ability. With choreography by Nathan M. Wright the cast are in good hands. With a hint of the expected, and a whole lot of inventiveness, Nathan keeps the action rolling and the hips thrusting.
For all it’s wonderfully subversive themes, and it’s cleverness accounts for it’s longevity, a visit with Rocky is a reminder that we all want to be naughty, sometimes. I dare anyone not to jump out of your seat and join in… after 40 fabulous years the love affair with Rocky Horror continues!