Suspenders, cross-dressing, confidence, lippy…lippy, stockings, wigs, heckles, laughter, what a fab audience!
We begin by watching the opening scene of a classic American horror film, the young couple (Brad and Janet), now engaged, get a flat tyre as they journey to share the good news. They need a phone. It’s raining. There’s a castle. Little do they know that the castle belongs to the ‘sweet transvestite’ Frank ‘N’ Furter, played superbly by David Bedella, who has imagined, sculpted and brought to life his very own man; Rocky (Julian Essex-Spurrier).
The extremely well cast cast appear to be having a great time, and the songs and choreography were both extremely well realised and as resonant as they were some 27 years ago. All round great performances but an extremely memorable one from Haley Flaherty as Janet, who plays the innocence and contrasting confidence beautifully, an excellent voice and a pleasure to watch. Bedella pleases too, as he captures perfectly the sexy, vampish transvestite but carries with him a vulnerability with which we can only sympathise.
The highlight of Christopher Luscombe’s production though is certainly the opening to the second half, with the same sex scene played out consecutively, first with Janet and then Brad, both of which give in to their yearning sexual desires, never been filled, before now, before Frank ‘N’ Furter.
There is no doubt that the Rocky Horror Show has its long term, devoted fanbase, a cult following, but it hits the spot for audiences coming at it afresh just as successfully.
Although staying so respectful of the original (production wise), it does feel, at times, that we have entered a ‘timewarp’, but it discusses the same, ‘omni’-relevant topics of gender and sexuality, relationships, innocence and love, self judgement and self acceptance, and is as powerful as when Richard O’Brien first created it in 1973.
Frisky, flirtatious and fun, this horror-musical-comedy is an utterly enjoyable night for all involved.
(And if we did star ratings, **** (four stars) without a doubt!)
The Rocky Horror Show is showing at The Richmond Theatre until 27th November. More information and to book tickets, see the website here.