Frank's timeless warp rocks on

The Rocky Horror Show

Alexandra Theatre

*****

Forgive me for gushing but Richard O'Brien's brilliant horror comedy musical The Rocky Horror Show is amazing and five-star performances were delivered by the whole cast.  

This cult classic is now more than 30 years old which is older than most of the audience; many of whom entered totally into the spirit of the occasion wearing the most outrageous costumes and lines were blurred between cast and audience.   

Anticipation is all part of the experience and the show was enthusiastically received by diehard fans and virgins alike.  There was a show-stopping reception for Ainsley Harriet as the narrator.  Not known for his thespian skills, he was in total control of the audience and, his comedy timing was perfect, a really funny man.  He did manage a clever plug of his food product range along the way. 

Another show-stopping entrance was made by David Bedelle who plays the iconic Frank ‘N' Furter (Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania) with huge amounts of compelling sex appeal in corset, heels and pearls with a certain suppressed menace. The part could have been written for him but then I expected nothing less than great as he was equally compelling as the Devil in Springer the Opera.  He was in absolute command of the stage, looked gorgeous and I could listen to his voice all night.   OMG, I'm drooling again. 

The show opens with the usherette singing Science Fiction backed by the multi-talented phantoms. The story goes that Janet and Brad seek refuge in an isolated castle when their car breaks down.  They are introduced into the bizarre world of the transsexual Frank ‘N' Furter and his servants.

ULTIMATE PLAYTHING

We see the demise of Eddie but not before a rousing Hot Patootie and meet Frank ‘N' Furter's own creation and ultimate plaything, the beautiful, blond, bronzed Rocky Horror who requires a just a little beefing up with a little help and thanks to Charles Atlas (I Can Make You a Man). However, Rocky and Frank ‘N' Furter aren't meant to be, Frank ‘N' Furter separately seduces virgins Janet and Brad using the same lines in a very cleverly executed, funny, upright bedroom romp.

There is hilarious CCTV coverage of Brad's seduction. Brad's uncle, Dr Scott arrives on the scene, reveals that Frank ‘N' Furter and his cronies are visitors from outerspace and the castle is really a spaceship.  Riff Raff resumes his role as commander of the ship, lives are lost, Brad, Janet and Dr Scott escape and Riff Raff and Magenta return to Transsexual, Transylvania in the spacecastle.  

The story is laced with great numbers, not least Time Warp.  Jenny Arnold's choreography is clever, fun and often seductive.  Sue Blane's costumes are again fun and tantalizing and Janet Bird's set design is imaginative.  The Band, Columbia and the Phantoms give great support throughout.  

The seasoned members of the audience offered clever and funny retorts to many lines; most of which were expected, well received and, on occasion, stopped cast members in their tracks.   I suspect the show could be somewhat shorter without the audience participation.   

It was well-worth the visit to check out the audience dress, some came as their favourite character from the show; some just loved the chance to unselfconsciously and ‘inconspicuously' express themselves.  Audience participation isn't compulsory but it surely is fun.  Beware those of you who never dance in public, the spirit of the show is compulsive, enthralling, hypnotizing, trust me…you will dance or be the only person sitting.

 For you virgins out there, visit http://www.rockyhorror.co.uk/about_the_show/virgins_guide for tips on show etiquette. To 30-10-10

Lynda Ford 

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