If you happen to be in Milton Keynes city centre this week and see an unusually high amount of people wearing Basques, fishnet 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 is now over 40 years old. However, if the amount of people dressed up in the audience is anything to go by then it is more popular than ever. This stunning new production is the best I have ever seen and I am by no means a Rocky virgin. The atmosphere before the show started was fabulous as the audience dressed up as their favourite characters is a way of breaking down barriers and making new friends. But it’s not just about dressing up - this show requires serious audience participation. As a veteran Rocky fan, I was shouting out some of the best responses, and this is expected by the cast so don’t be shy. Give it your best shot.
For those who are Rocky virgins, The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two clean-cut college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their college professor. It’s an adventure they’ll never forget, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits in an intended B-Movie style. Everyone knows the Time Warp, but there are other masterpieces such as Sweet Transvestite and There’s a light, Science Fiction/Double Feature, Dammit Janet and the stage show extra, Once in a while.
Riff Raff is played by Kristian Lavercombe who is reprising this classic role and has already logged up over 1,300 performances in Rocky Horror. His stature, his speech and his acting completely embodies Riff Raff. A little bit scary but also funny with great timing. The Narrator is played by Trigger Happy Dom Joly. His quick wit and retorts to the audience were fabulous. He looked right at me when I asked him to describe his balls! The audience was in fits of giggles. He has perfect timing and good diction to allow the audience to shout out at the right time. Perfect performance.
Brad and Janet are the best Brad and Janet I have ever seen. Brad is played by A1’s Ben Adams and he gives some great vocal performances, especially Once in a while. Ben Adams says: “Performing in Rocky Horror is a dream come true. Bring on the stilettos!” Janet is played by Joanne Clifton and her performance is outstanding – easily the best Janet I have ever seen and I am in double figures of seeing this show. Joanne, who won the strictly glitter ball has more recently established herself as a triple threat on stage, with her vocals and acting equally as stunning as her dancing. Joanne’s reactions are superb and she really exceptional in the role of Janet. Joanne and Ben have a great chemistry together after having previously worked together in Flashdance. Joanne Clifton said: “I've always loved Rocky Horror. I learnt the Time Warp in my dance classes in Grimsby when I was 4 years old ... 30 years later and I’ll be jumping to the left on the actual Rocky Horror stage, I can't quite believe it!”
Stephen Webb plays Frank-N-Furter and what a sweet transvestite he is. He is camp and sexy and also a little bit scary. Stephen has a lovely singing voice and gave the songs a new dimension, along with lots of sass. Rocky is for those in the audience who are desperate for a bit of muscle and Callum Evans did not disappoint. Not only can he sing and dance – but…well let me put it this way; ‘I’m a muscle fan’. He also does backflips and gymnastics that give the show a whole new sexual tension. He is most definitely the best Rocky I have ever seen in this role. Fabulous job Callum. All the cast were fabulous and added to the show and as I have said, this is the best production and well-cast show I have ever seen.
There is no doubt that the audience was there to enjoy it; singing and dancing their way through the numbers; putting newspapers on their heads and using torches; it was a great audience. Occasionally, the show did feel a little fast paced and sometimes there was not enough time left in between lines to shout out. This is my only critique in this fabulous show.
I could watch this show every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. This isn’t just a show – it’s the most audience participative show there is and what more can you ask for than the whole audience up doing the Time Warp on a Monday evening? Can you imagine how good this will be by Saturday? So dust off your fishnet stockings and get those feather boas 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!
The Rocky Horror Show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 9 February 2019 and then continues its UK tour.