Tag Archives: The Rocky Horror Show

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

1973 may be remembered for many things: the year VAT was introduced; Britain joined the EEC; the three day week came into force; Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips and a young, out of work New Zealand actor wrote The Rocky Horror Show.

Richard O’Brien’s groundbreaking work represented a seismic shift in the musicals of the day and went from the tiny space that is Upstairs at the Royal Court to cult movie, to seemingly endless productions and tours around the world. It’s even spawned its own subculture where fans dress up, dance and throw out carefully orchestrated heckles. Not bad for a 43-year-old story about a transsexual alien with Dr. Frankenstein aspirations.

The plot is utterly nonsensical, but none of that matters, this is more of a theatrical ‘experience’, either full-on participatory involvement or as an amused (or bemused) on-looker. Paying homage to the science fiction, schlock-horror B-movies of the 50s, young lovers Brad and Janet are on their way to visit their old science tutor with news of their engagement when their car breaks down. Walking through the torrential rain they stumble upon a strange old castle where they meet a highly unusual set of residents…

This has always, and continues to be, an audience pleaser where anything goes. When the first notes ofThe Time Warp ring out, the entire auditorium leaps to its feet, the feather boas fly and the enthusiastic pelvic thrusting of the row in front begins. There’s the people watching too, how many Franks, Columbias and Magentas can you spot? Did I really see a grandpa in a basque?

The set is as ropey as its B-movie inspiration, so much of the success of any production lies in its cast. Liam Tamne certainly has the pipes, as evidenced by his show-stopping turns in Les Mis and Phantom, but doesn’t get to showcase them here until the ballads. His is a little cruder than the usual urbane Frank, but he certainly looks the part. Shining bright vocally is Richard Meek (Brad), who has the most beautifully toned and modulated voice. Kristian Lavercombe still steals every scene he’s in as Riff Raff, and retains an admirable enthusiasm for a role he’s played over a thousand times. Mention must be made of former S Club Seven singer Paul Cattermole, who acquits himself surprisingly well as Dr. Scott/Eddie and Dominic Anderson’s Rocky actually manages to make an impression beyond the muscles and teeny tiny pants. Faring less well is X Factor alumni Diana Vickers (Janet), as wooden as the set, she has an annoying nasal whine which grates throughout.

Salacious, silly, frisky and risqué, The Rocky Horror Show still has the power to thoroughly entertain and long may it continue.

Runs until Saturday 13 August 2016 | Image: Contributed

This article was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

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There are few shows with quite the same level of audience devotion as The Rocky Horror Show, and forty years later I’m happy to report that the madness is still well and truly alive: with the audience providing as much spectacle as the show, it really is a night out at the theatre without comparison.

The B-Movie pastiche storyline stands the test of time and is as appealing as ever. The music here though is the highlight – I defy anyone not to sing along to Sweet Transvestite, Hot Patootie and of course, The Time Warp. The whole thing is infused with such fun that you can’t fail to be carried away on the magnificent, mad roller coaster.

Oliver Thornton Sweet Transvestite Rocky Horror ShowITV Superstar winner Ben Forster (Brad) and Roxanne Pallet (Janet) both deftly manage the transition from virginal couple to depraved disciples of Frank, and both have the chance to showcase their fine voices which more than match the pulsating band. Stage and TV veteran Philip Franks as The Narrator turns in a genuinely witty performance, fully embracing the camp madness of it all – adeptly fending off the very vocal asides of the Glasgow crowd both scripted and unscripted. Rhydian Roberts is the titular Rocky and its more his pectoral muscles that are on show rather than his vocal ones here, but he carries it off the role with sufficient skill. Kristian  Lavercombe as Riff Raff is a revelation, coming closest to embodying the spirit of the show’s original creator Richard O’Brien than you’re likely to see, and with his powerful voice, he seems destined for great things.

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Rightfully though, the show belongs to Frank. Indelibly printed on everyone’s mind is Tim Curry’s seminal performance in the movie, and as Frank n Furter, Oliver Thornton does a rare thing indeed, in bringing us a rather different Frank, never indulging in all out camp or over the the top hamming, rather managing to convey both a more tender side to the character and an ever more mercurial one at the same time. His attraction and menace are skilfully portrayed by Thornton. He also looks so utterly stunning that it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him when he’s on stage. Every eyebrow raised or lick of the lips is met with roars of approval by the crowd. A sublime performance from Thornton, the definitive Frank for a new generation.

True to its low budget B-Movie roots the set is always a little ropey, but the clever lighting and staging all add to the fun. This is the best  night of escapism you are ever likely to find. The ear-splitting screams of approval from the audience at the end are enough to tell you that.

Due to demand the show will return in August. I urge you – get a ticket now!