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The Rocky Horror Show - Oh Rocky!

If you happen to be in the city centre this week and see an unusually high amount of people wearing Basques, stockings and feather boas – it can only mean one thing. Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is in town!

The Rocky Horror show is a cult show and film that was first performed in the 1970’s. However, if the amount of people dressed up in the audience is anything to go by then it is more popular than ever. The atmosphere before the show started was fabulous as dressing up as the characters is a way of breaking down barriers and making new friends. I myself went as Magenta. And it’s not just about the dressing up – this show requires serious audience participation and even if you don’t know what to shout out – listening to others can be funnier than the lines on stage.

For those who are Rocky virgins the story is about Brad and Janet who are on their way to visit their friend Dr Scott when their car breaks down and they stumble upon a castle and some unusual characters. This show is meant to be in a B-Movie style so don’t expect slick and sophisticated.

The numbers of the show are a huge part of the enjoyment. Everyone knows the Time Warp, but there are other classics such as Sweet Transvestite and There’s a light. Of course the stage show differs to the film and features the song Once in a while.

The cast are few but that is all that is needed. Riff Raff was played by Kristian Lavercombe who has already logged up over 1,000 performances in Rocky Horror. His stature, his speech and his acting completely embodied Riff Raff. He is really Riff Raff. Scary and funny all at once. It is not an easy role to play but Kristian delivers it with affection which lets us take him to our hearts.

The Narrator is played by Norman Pace (half of Hale and Pace, the comedy duo). His quick wit and retorts to the audience were fabulous. He was very current making comments about The Referendum and Angela Merkel. There was a lovely moment when he said the line ‘what further indignities were they to be subjected to? And an audience member shouted out ‘Hale and Pace shows’. Brilliant.Liam Tamne plays Frank-N-Furter and what a sweet transvestite he is. He was camp and sexy and also a little bit scary. Just what a good Frank should be. Brad and Janet are believable as an innocent couple who stumble across this castle.

Brad is played by Richard Meek and he gives some great vocal performances, especially Once in a while. Janet is played by Diana Vickers and gives a great portrayal of an innocence lost. Paul Cattermole plays both Eddie and Dr Scott. That’s impressive. Both roles feel very different and he gives a great performance of both.Rocky is for those in the audience who are desperate for a bit of muscle and Dominic Andersen did not disappoint. Not only could he sing and dance and act – but…well let me put it this way; ‘I’m a muscle fan’.Columbia was played by Sophie Linder-Lee and was as annoying as she should be. Her moment is definitely after Frank announces his floor show. She pours her heart out telling him she loves him. It’s a touching moment.

Magenta is played by Kay Murphy and it’s a bit sad they don’t make more of her role as she can dance and act really well. To help the virgins in the audience it would be really helpful if she could be in the maid’s outfit to help identify her from the other ‘phantom’ cast members.

There is no doubt that the audience was there to enjoy it and enjoy it they did. Singing and dancing their way through the numbers. Putting newspapers on their heads and using torches; it was a great audience. However, the show did feel a little fast paced. And for the die-hards, the actors did not leave enough time in between lines to shout out (and they should know there are set places to shout – it’s been going on for 40 years!).

For example:

Riff Raff: Say goodbye to all of this and hello to oblivion.

Me: Hi oblivion. How’s the wife and kids? (I actually got a laugh from someone sitting near me but we then missed his next line because there was no pause.

Another issue was some lines are completely cut from the script.

For example:

(After Riff has shot Frank)

Brad: what was his crime?

Me: Overacting!

This is a classic and one of my favourites. This isn’t just a show – it’s the most audience participative show there is (even more than Panto). It was disappointing that the cast didn’t leave enough time or respond to some of the lines from the audience.

But this is a minor issue – the whole audience was up doing the Time Warp on a Monday evening. Can you imagine how good this will be by Saturday?

What’s not to like? Dressing up. Audience participation. Funny with great songs. It’s the perfect show. So dust off your stockings and get those feathers out – it’s not crime to give yourself over to absolute pleasure. Don’t dream it – be it and you can do the Time Warp again!

4 stars.

This review originally featured on the About Milton Keynes Website.

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