Rocky Horror Show

Rocky Horror rocks on. Don't forget your fishnets.
New Theatre, biennial occurrence, or thereabouts.

June 2, 2010
‘You better wise up, Janet Weiss. Your apple pie don't taste too nice’

As a Rocky Horror virgin, I didn’t know whether to dress up or not. The age-old quandary, do I dress up for the fancy dress party, risking that it’s not fancy dress after all (a la Bridget Jones in her bunny costume), or do I dress normally and risk looking really square? Anyway, I decided on the middle ground, wore a bit of fishnet and high heels, and just looked like a kinked-up version of myself, which was pretty much the middle ground of the audience – most not dressed up at all, but a few went way OTT with fishnets, corsets, heels, stuffed bras, feather boas etc – and that was just the guys.

I was seeing the show with few preconceptions apart from that it was an outrageous transvestite musical fest, which it indeed was. The story is, in a nutshell, an old-fashioned couple, Brad and Janet, get stranded in the middle of nowhere and end up in a house belonging to an eccentric transvestite called Dr Frank ‘N’ Furter who ends up seducing them both. Then it all gets a bit weird and Janet also has sex with a Frankenstein-type macho creation before they all get killed and transported to outer space, or something like that.

But the story doesn’t really matter. Entertainment wise, it was a fantastic show. Christopher Biggins was great in the role of Narrator, even though he wasn’t in it nearly enough for my liking – he came across as great fun, just like he is on TV – speaking to one of the New Theatre staff in the interval, she said he was exactly like that in real life and was her ‘new best friend’. The audience interjected ad libs along the way, some expected, some not, and Biggins handled the audience participation well, he made the show really panto-like and enjoyable – he is just one of those naturally funny and likeable performers.

The outstanding performance was David Bedella as Frank ‘N’ Furter – outrageous, powerful, charismatic – I have never seen anyone look masculine in suspenders before but he managed it with an abundance of both campness and testosterone. He was enigmatically believable and really made the show memorable, and I will actively seek out future performances of his. I have never seen an anal sex scene played out on stage before nor did I ever think it could be so so so laugh-out-loud funny.

Overall the show was punchy, exciting and fast – the first half was only 45 minutes long and really flew by, so this is not a drawn out show, it is over quickly but satisfyingly (probably like Frank ‘N’ Furter's conquests of Brad and Janet). My guest said it was much better than the film which was too long and dragged on – in the show, the build up of the characters was maybe a bit lacking, in particular the creation of ‘Eddie’ and ‘Rocky Horror’ which were glossed over pretty quickly, but as a fast-paced and very funny entertainment romp, this is the one to go and see – but don’t take the kids!

‘What have you done to Brad?’ ‘Nothing – why, do you think I should?’

March 21, 2006
It is hard to find a more perfect piece of theatrical entertainment than the Rocky Horror Show. For 33 years (yes, it really is that long) this clever pastiche of '50s B movies has been wowing audiences. It is so much part of popular culture that not only are the music and dialogue quotable – but audiences come prepared with traditional props and heckles ready.

And so it was that I found myself at the New Theatre surrounded by men in basques and women in wigs. The entire audience was certainly up for as much fun as they could have in a theatre. By the end of the evening, everyone was on their feet applauding and joining in.

This was certainly the best sung production of Rocky Horror that I have ever encountered. David Bedella, as Frank, has an outstanding voice – rich, fruity and full of subtle nuance. He effortlessly switched between raunchy rock to moving ballad – all matched with an excellent acting performance.

Suzanne Shaw and Matthew Cole made much of the roles of the innocents – Brad and Janet. Cole was particularly effective in his second half numbers – full of emotion.

Of course, this show is about the Time Warp – we all know it. However this production broke with tradition and altered the choreography. Purists may be shocked. Most of the audience didn’t seem to notice! However it was nice to see a fresh take on the number.

There were a few glitches with the sound on the opening night – inevitable with the demands of touring and the time pressures involved – but these can be forgiven. As can the somewhat under-powered performance by Nathan Amzi as Eddie. It was still a great night out.

It is rare for me to say this – but it is one of the most entertaining nights out I have had in years – book now and experience it for yourself.
I just wanted to say i recently saw the show in Liverpool after first seeing it in Oxford... Oh my god what an improvement. I was overjoyed after the performance in Oxford but after seeing the show in Liverpool i was flabbergasted. The characters have developed incredibly as i am sure the cast have settled in to there roles. David Bedella seems to have found his Frank adding facial nuances which enhance and release franks devilish qualities. I must also mention the change in Nathan Amzi's performance as Eddie/Dr.Scott, suddenly the seemingly previous underpowered characters had disappeared leaving way for a fierce powerful, rebellious, sexy Eddie and a outstanding Dr.Scott. Suzanne Shaw perfectly encapsulates Janets transformation as does Matthew Cole (Brad). The major transformation however lies in the audience, finally it seemed people were listening to the play and reacting to the humor within rather than tired audience participation. Liverpool Empire a hard space to fill was truly in adoration of the show, its cast and the whole experience. I truly recommend anyone to see this show especially in its new found shape. I have never walked away full of joy, fun and satisfaction. Go Now!
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