I remember buying The Rocky Horror Picture Show on VHS as a teenager.I had never seen the film, but the iconic lips on the cover must have called out a siren song to me, because I bought it blind; no idea of the story or the cult following it already had. Decades later, I’ve seen the film a fair few times, gingerly tried out the new version (Let’s Do The Time Warp Again, with a fabulous Laverne Cox stepping into Frank NFurter’s heels) and stepped out to witness various stage versions over the years. Every single time I watch it is like the first. The plot is just bonkers. While it starts in a straightforward way, with a young, virginal couple stranded in a storm, the following couple of hours is nothing less than a mad trip. Bring into that the audience participation: fancy dress, sequins, top hats, loud, sweary and well-practiced heckling and security checks on the door to ensure that absolutely no confetti makes it into the auditorium, and you have got yourself a rather raucous Monday evening in
I’ve visited the New Theatre quite a lot over the past few weeks and while there is always an excited air of antici…pation whatever the show, the Rocky Horror Show brings with it something special.The audience were chomping at the bit for the show to start, so when the house lights went down, a cheer went up, and the rollercoaster 'late night, double feature picture show' was out of the slips.
Joanne Clifton might be best known for her Strictly-winning dancing skills, but her other theatrical talents should not be underestimated. Her performance as Janet was note-perfect; her journey from wholesome young girl, frightened of everything, to sexy, rocking vixen, seamless in its delivery. Fiancé Brad, played faultlessly by Ben Adams of A1 boyband fame, also belts out his numbers, making his Y-fronts and white vest look rather fetching at the same time.
However, it’s the moment we meet Frank N Furter that always dazzles for me, and tonight’s show was no different. Unrecognisable and extremely sexy in his basque and fishnets, Duncan James was an absolute tour de force in his opening performance as the Sweet Transvestite and the crowd reaction was epic. I think this role will definitely prove to be a huge highlight of his career, and his performance took his vocal talents to new heights – I really was blown away.
The dry, wry and witty interjections from our Narrator, Philip Franks, were hilarious and his asides and improvised quips to the audience heckles added even more of an edge to the performance with a genius impression of Theresa May throwing the audience into near-hysterical cackles.
The entire show was just a loud, boisterous barrel of laughs, speeding through set pieces and whipping the audience up into a near frenzy, for a Monday evening anyway.My only niggle would be that the role of Eddie was not given as much focus as it usually is, and the Eddie/Colombia relationship most certainly took a backseat for this version of the show.Nevertheless, that did not detract from the high energy of the iconic show put on by an outstanding cast and faultless band.