Wolverhampton’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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The legendary extravaganza returns for a major UK tour.
Hook up your fishnets, tighten your corsets and prepare to ‘do The Time Warp again’ - The Rocky Horror Show is returning to the Midlands!
Richard O Brien’s cult production tells the tale of the straight-laced Brad and the deliciously corruptible Janet, who arrive at the castle of the alien transvestite Frank N Furter and witness the birth of the monster, Rocky.
Along the way, the show takes the audience through a selection of love-’em-or-loathe-’em musical numbers, including Sweet Transvestite, Damn It Janet and The Time Warp. Great fun’s a guarantee - particularly if you get into the spirit of things and attend the show dressed in your very best stockings & suspenders (as many patrons do)!
It’s hard to believe that The Rocky Horror Show premiered half a century ago, in 1973. The movie of the nearly same name - The Rocky Horror Picture Show - was released two years later. The young people who enjoyed the production in its early days are likely to be grandparents now. Maybe their children and grandchildren have followed their lead and enjoy the show, too. If this is the case, then Rocky Horror can legitimately be called a family show! But for Rocky Horror ‘virgins’ - those who are seeing it for the very first time - be warned: It is definitely not an appropriate theatrical experience for children or anyone who is not broadminded! Making shameless fun of the 1950s sci-fi horror movie genre, it is brash, raunchy, rude and sexy, with a bizarre and unpredictable storyline.
The Rocky Horror Show starts with two squeaky-clean virgin college kids - Brad ( Richard Meek) and his fiancé, Janet (Haley Flaherty) - whose car breaks down outside a creepy castle, which they subsequently visit in the hope of finding a telephone. Once inside, they meet the charismatic transsexual Transylvanian, Dr Frank ’N’ Furter (Stephen Webb), along with his servants, Rif-Raff (Kristian Lavercombe), Magenta (Suzie McAdam) and Columbia (Darcy Fiden). In no time at all, Brad and Janet find themselves embarking on an adventure they’ll never forget, and are definitely no longer sexually repressed earthlings by the end of the show!
Audience participation at Rocky Horror is actively encouraged. The narrator (Philip Franks) bears the brunt of this and is more than capable of holding his own against a quick-witted audience and their lighthearted heckles. His improvised responses, breaking the fourth wall, are hilarious! Indeed, the whole cast boasts strong comic timing, not to mention an amazing exuberance, fantastic energy and stunning vocals.
Song-wise, the show features numerous cult classics, including Sweet Transvestite, Damn It Janet, and of course, the pelvic-thrusting Time Warp. It is a truly surreal experience to dance to the latter, with most audience member on their feet - many of whom (even on a chilly Monday evening in late March) were scantily clad for the occasion in fishnet stockings, basks, suspenders, and in several cases little else!
I would absolutely recommend you catch the ‘late night, double feature, picture show’ during its run at Birmingham’s The Alexandra. Do be brave and dress up. If basks and stockings aren’t your thing, go as one of the characters instead - it will really help you to engage with the whole Rocky Horror experience.
Reveiwed by Sue Hull, Monday 27 March at The Alexandra, Birmingham. The show runs until Saturday (1 April).
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