Muddy review: The Rocky Horror Show
I have a confession. And I say this with my eyes lowered and my head bowed, because even I’m wondering how on earth I got to the age I am without ever having seen The Rocky Horror Show. I know, right! It’s quite a feat. There really are some large gaps in my musical theatre history. Maybe it’s the fact I’m Australian.
But what’s got me even more incredulous is that tonight I was doing the Time Warp in my seat. On a Monday night. In Woking. And not just once. I did it three times.
Tonight, people, my Rocky Horror cherry was well and truly popped. I feel like I’ve gained entry into an exclusive club.
So, a quick run through of the story – for the other five people in the world who haven’t yet seen it! We’ve got a pair of childhood sweethearts – Brad and Janet. Brad asks Janet to marry him. She squeals with glee. Their car breaks down, and the next thing you know they’ve stumbled upon the castle of a transvestite doctor called Frank N Furter – and they’re no longer wearing their clothes.
The storyline is pretty flimsy, and most certainly farcical. But then, that’s really not why we’re here, is it? This is frothy and fun, rude and risqué. Most of the audience has been here before, and they arrived tonight en mass in fishnets and corsets, leather and feathers, top hats and tails. Part of the fun came from the audience’s heckles and jibes.
Narrator Norman Pace – he of famed comedy duo Hale and Pace – was brilliantly quick witted, flicking the jeers aside with the ease of a pro, even shoehorning in gags about Brexit, David Cameron and Donald Trump. Sexual innuendo and political satire aren’t a million miles apart it seems. There was even a reference to a Donald Trump-Boris Johnson love child.
Diana Vickers (ex-X Factor) was wonderful as Janet, naive and yet blossoming, while Richard Meek was perfectly fresh-faced and geeky as her fiance. Liam Tamne (former Phantom of the Opera and The Voice) was exuberant and suitably lewd as Frank N Furter, strutting around in his fishnets, corset and heels.
I knew the show had rude bits, but I hadn’t realised they were going to be so blatantly sexual. There’s no subtlety here. And, aside from the scenes when Brad and Janet each lose their virginity to Frank, it’s none so obvious as when Frank’s creation Rocky Horror comes onto the stage, his buffed body entirely on show and his only modesty a tiny pair of leopard print pants. West End newbie Dominic Andersen plays the role. And let me tell you girls, the boy’s got a hot bod. And cheekbones to die for. And he can also belt out a pretty good tune. Phwoar.
Rocky Horror was written more than 40 years ago and has a massive cult following. It’s been labelled by some critics as a tragic masterpiece – but there was nothing tragic about tonight’s show. It was just a lot of fun. Let’s do the Time Warp again…
The Rocky Horror Show is on until Sat 2 July, New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ, Tel: 0844 871 7645. Tickets: £16.90-£47.90 atgtickets.com