Find those fishnet tights, squeeze into that spangled corset (and this is just the men) and get ready to be part of the wild party that is the audience when the Rocky Horror Show comes to town. Since its debut forty years ago in 1973 this off the wall cult musical has been entertaining and outraging in equal parts, and even in the 21st century still has the power to shock. Not for your fainthearted maiden aunt then, but stuffed full of fun, crazy antics and great songs; The Time Warp of course, beloved of discos everywhere as last song of the night floor filler, Science Fiction/Double Feature, and the quirky Dammit Janet.
Set in 1950s New Jersey there is a plot; teenage sweethearts Brad and Janet set off to visit their old college professor but their car gives up the ghost outside a suitably spooky Gothic mansion, it’s pouring with rain and their only solution is take shelter inside….. And so begins a shocking adventure for two such innocents abroad.
The show’s opening song Science Fiction/Double Feature sung by Kay Murphy as an usherette complete with ice-cream tray (she also plays Magenta) was enthusiastically received by an audience dressed to thrill and ready to be part of the show. Brad is played by Richard Meek who has a great voice and some good solo opportunities to show it off. Haley Flaherty as Janet captures her innocent spirit very well, and they make a good duo.
As Brad and Janet are invited into the castle of horror, the song the Time Warp makes its first appearance and sets the theatre alight. At the centre of the madness, and he who orchestrates it all, is Frank N Furter, an alien from another planet, part cross-dresser, ring master, and manipulator surrounded by his acolytes, the sinister Riff Raff, the evil Magenta and Columbia. Liam Tamne, is absolutely marvellous as Frank N Furter and has terrific stage presence, backed up by a powerful voice. He dominates the show, corseted and stamping around in vertiginous platform heels as though he wore them all his life, the personification of wicked immorality.
Riff Raff, Frank’s butler, is played by Kristian Lavercombe, a veteran of the show after over 1,000 performances throughout many tours, is truly horrible (in a good way!) and Dominic Andersen as Rocky, the perfect creature created by Frank is indeed perfect, his rippling muscles and six-pack a testament to much hard work in the gym I should think.
Philip Franks as the Narrator is an august presence that holds the show together and fends off saucy comments from the auditorium – all encouraged and allowed of course. The second half really powers along and the show has a magnificent finale with lots of special effects, the Time Warp reprised and frenzied dancing in the aisles. We loved it all, the superb music, great cast and whole-hearted enjoyment of the audience who gave a standing ovation at the end.