Birmingham’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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Posted on Wed 07 Feb
Rocky Horror Show, ‘The Legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll musical’, was first created by Richard O’Brien at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1973. The most recent world tour, which began in 2022, has reached the beginning of the end - Wolverhampton Grand is its last UK venue, before the show flies to Paris. With a stellar live band, a host of sequined costumes and lush sets it’s a feast for the eyes and ears.
For those who are still Rocky Horror Virgins, it’s hard to explain without invoking a fever dream brimming with stockings, suspenders, and dissolving inhibitions. It’s an affectionate send-up of B Movie horror, beginning with Brad (Richard Meek) and Janet (Haley Flaherty), a newly engaged couple, stranded in a thunderstorm with a flat tire. They seek refuge in an ominous castle, inhabited by a sexually charged ensemble and overseen by ‘Sweet Transvestite’ Frank N Furter. What could go wrong?
The cast’s singing is pitch perfect, and they move with a wild abandon that hides the fact that their dancing is incredibly slick. The principal cast are all excellent, and appear to be having the time of their lives. Magenta (Suzie McAdam) bubbles with barely suppressed energy, while Columbia (Darcy Finden) is hyperactive and high-pitched. Kristian Lavercombe, who plays Riff Raff, has appeared in the show over 2000 times, while Ben Westhead, playing Rocky, is celebrating his first UK tour as an adult.
Stephen Webb has big platform heels to fill as Dr Frank N Furter, a role originally created by Tim Curry, but carries himself around the stage with swagger and sensuality, whether in a corset, surgical gown, or wielding a whip. His voice is impressive, and appropriately dramatic - in one number he manages to get four syllables out of the word ‘flesh’.
The show has an unusual additional cast member - the audience. Dressing up as the characters is standard, and heckling is practically scripted from start to finish. It’s rare that an audience gets the best lines - and the filthiest ones. The Narrator (Philip Franks) regularly has a thing or two to say in response, confidently running the gauntlet of Old Boy grandeur and schoolboy smut.
If you’ve never seen The Rocky Horror Show live before, don’t miss it - you’re in for a treat. And for old fans - why not see it once more for the road? Let’s do the Time Warp again…
Reviewed by Jessica Clixby at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Tuesday 6 February, where it plays until Saturday 10 February
Posted on Thu 22 Feb
Posted on Wed 21 Feb