15-20 August 2016
Reviewed by Claire Turner
It was a lovely evening in Southend as I parked on the seafront (free after 6pm) and headed up the steps to the Cliffs Pavilion. The theatre itself looks like it was designed in the 60s, but has been renovated since then, and is a very pleasant environment to go and see a show. You will find much more room than you get in the London theatres – particularly leg room when you take your seat. The staff are friendly and there is a lot of space inside to sit, have a drink and a snack and chat with friends before the show. There is also some space on the balcony outside with great views over the Thames estuary on an evening like this.
Once I arrived at the theatre I knew I was in for a different sort of evening. The Rocky Horror Show has a cult status, and its fans are an extension of the performance itself. I’m amazed at how many people have dressed up as the characters, and judging by some of the costumes I bet they are pleased it’s a warm evening! During the show the audience join in and respond to lines in the script with their own ‘scripted’ lines (and a few ad libs) which the cast, and especially Norman Pace (the Narrator) react brilliantly to. It all feels a bit strange to a newbie like me, and I missed a few lines from the cast in all the excitement… but in a strange way, it all adds to the atmosphere. It is camp, over the top, and a lot of fun, it feels like a party and the music and costumes add to that feeling.
The music is great, and has a classic rock n roll meets pop feel to it. The story is based on those old sci-fi B movies and is not really suitable for children – it is about a transvestite from transsexual Transylvania after all! All of the cast are fabulous in their roles, and there are a lot of very strong vocal performances, but I want to give a particular mention to the star of the show Liam Tamne (Frank-N-Furter) who was excellent and looked great in his basque, stockings and high heels!
The only slight disappointment for me this evening, is that there were a few empty seats in the theatre (it was a Monday night) and looking at the audience in their costumes, there is probably a fair bit of preparation time required… I would love to see this show in a full theatre though… I can imagine the audience and the atmosphere would be even more amazing!
A definite 5 out of 5 stars from me!
Tickets cost from £23.50 to £44.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Rocky Horror Show is at Cliffs Pavilion in Southend until 20 August 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135