"Celebrating 40 years of success, The Rocky Horror Show still has audiences rolling in the aisles"Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph (January 2013)
The Rocky Horror Show, New Wimbledon Theatre/ touring, review
Celebrating 40 years of sustained cult success, The Rocky Horror Show still has audiences rolling in the aisles, writes Dominic Cavendish.
[4 out of 5 stars]
By Dominic Cavendish
5:31PM GMT 23 Jan 2013
"Crawling on the planet’s face, insects called the human race, lost in time, and lost in space.” No, not Sir David Attenborough taking another pot-shot at his own species again but the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, putting an existential spin on the freakish antics of his fellow man, woman and man-dressed-as-woman.
OK, alright, so Frank-N-Furter – the “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania” – and his fellow kinky-creepy ghouls are revealed to be aliens gone AWOL, but the whole joyous pelvic thrust of this show – celebrating 40 years of sustained cult success – is that we should all learn to embrace our inner visitor from another planet.
I have a hunch it’s because The Rocky Horror Show actually has something to say – expressing its mind-expanding substance through its flamboyant style – that creator Richard O’Brien has been laughing all the way to the bank ever since the piece first reared its spaced-out head at the Royal Court.
Audience participation, whether in theatres and cinemas, has of course played a part in making it a long-runner. Blokes need little excuse, it transpires, to slap some lippy on, or don suspenders and a brassier. It’s nigh on impossible not to get on your feet and act like a creature possessed when The Time Warp strikes up. And at Wimbledon, launch-pad for the latest touring incarnation, directed with riotous slickness by Christopher Luscombe, so many smutty interjections are lobbed at the stage by the smart-aleck saboteurs in the stalls, who know the script by heart, the cast can hardly get a word in edgeways.
Yet for all its runaway silliness and B-movie spoofing, the evening leaves you with the serious thought that you should throw caution to the wind or what on earth are you? You wouldn’t want to be those wholesome nonentities Brad and Janet – rightly lured into the lair of carnal temptation – now would you?
Terrific Oliver Thornton as the mad, uber-metrosexual scientist Frank-N-Furter, cracking his whip with the practised ease of a dominatrix, is an absolute scream, while Rhydian (Roberts), the Welsh singer catapulted to fame by The X Factor, proves a comically endearing hunk-in-leopard-skin trunks as his engineered he-man Rocky. Veteran actor Philip Franks as the Narrator exudes a wonderful air of embarrassment at all the schlock, but that’s just part of the joke. I suspect they’ll still be rolling – and rocking – in the aisles, 40 years hence.
Until Sat (tickets: 0844 871 7646), then touring. Details:rockyhorror.co.uk