“The Rocky Horror Show” review

The Rocky Horror Show (credit David Freeman)


The Rocky Horror Show. The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.


It’s hard to believe The Rocky Horror Show is 50 years old this year. To celebrate the golden anniversary the show is in the middle of a world tour, and this production shows it has no signs of slowing down as it’s still selling out and is still as fresh as it ever was.

So why is this show still such a hit? The answer is quite simply that it’s FUN. The music is fun (we’ve all done the Time Warp), the characters are fun (yes, people still dress up as their favourite), and the story is fun (ridiculous, but fun!). It’s easy to see why it’s become a cult.

The whole story is a homage to B movies so as well as horror we also get a bit of “science fiction”. Innocent lovebirds Brad and Janet (played perfectly by Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty) are driving late at night in the rain when their car breaks down, coincidentally by a gothic manor – the “Frankenstein place”. They take shelter inside and that’s where the fun begins. There they meet a collection of strange characters called Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe), Magenta (Suzie McAdam), Columbia (Darcy Finden), and their master, the “sweet transvestite”, Frank N Furter (played magnificently by Stephen Webb). Frank has been working on something in the lab – creating the perfect man (the titular Rocky – played wonderfully with energetic joy and innocence by Ben Westhead). What follows is Brad and Janet’s sexual awakening (and maybe the audience’s too!). Sexual liberation is another strong theme in this show. In fact I’d go as far to say this is the sexiest show on earth!

The whole piece is narrated by “the narrator”. Here we have The Darling Buds of May’s Philip Franks who is perfect (although I couldn’t get over how much he sounded like David Attenborough! Imagine him narrating this!). There were some topical jokes thrown in as well as some local references. He also bantered with the audience and had a great rapport.

One of the main things about this show is the audience participation. They shout out lines on cue throughout. I’ve always wondered how the cast cope with this but they seem to have embraced it and make accommodation for it, dare I say, enjoy it. It can become a bit panto but it strangely adds to proceedings.

Richard O’Brien wrote a modern masterpiece with this show. He literally created a monster!


5 stars. Dammit! I love this show!


Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.