Reviewed by Louise Edwards
The Rocky Horror Show, the iconic rock musical, created by Richard O’Brien almost 50 years ago, is touring the country and this week it is the turn of the Alexandra theatre in Birmingham.
The story opens with the usherette introducing us to the premise of the show – science fiction. The pure and innocent newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet are driving away from a wedding where Janet has caught the bridal bouquet and Brad proposes to her. Brad is played by the multi talented Ore Oduba, winner of the 14th series of Strictly Come Dancing and Janet by Hayley Flaherty.
Their car breaks down and they go to look for help when they come across the eerie mansion belonging to Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist, played by Stephen Webb. He is having an annual party and unveiling his new creation, a Frankinstein monster called Rocky. Rocky is muscled and taut with blonde hair and tanned skin.
Clearly this isn’t your average party and the phantoms and ghouls that the couple face are a bit unnerving for them. However, Dr Frank-N-Furter seduces Janet and then Brad and they are taken in to the “darkside” and join his crew.
The Rocky Horror Show is very much an interactive affair and there was lots of friendly banter and heckling from the audience throughout. Clearly this cult musical has a strong following with people going to see it multiple times and getting into the mood by dressing up in sparkly costumes, fishnets, suspenders basques and really anything goes!
The wonderful Philip Franks, plays the role of the Narrator, dealing with the heckling with aplomb and guiding the audience throughout the show and he really is a huge star of the show. He has incredible comic timing with jokes about the petrol crisis and the Tory government having the audience laughing out loud.
The soundtrack to Rocky Horror Show is legendary and of course getting up to dance along to classics such as the Timewarp is essential. Some people in the audience chose to get up and dance to every song which for the die hard devotees is of course requisite.
Myself and my theatre buddy were both The Rocky Horror Show virgins so went along very excited but also slightly apprehensive. However there was nothing to be afraid of and a brilliant night of laughs and fun was guaranteed.
When The Rocky Horror Show was first written in 1973 it was thought to be shocking and outrageous. Indeed it was one of the first musicals with the theme of transvestites and to depict fluid sexuality. This was a period where division between generations and a lack of sexual difference acceptance. I thought it may seem a little dated but was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t although perhaps in today’s very politically correct society it may not be everyone’s cup of tea!
I haven’t been to the Alexandra theatre before so it was all new to me. The theatre is located in Birmingham city centre close to the Bullring and all the shops and restaurants. It is a short walk from the train station and there are lots of car parks close by. We parked in the Mailbox which is literally a few minutes walk so very handy.
Obviously things at the theatre are not quite the same as they were pre pandemic. On arrival at theatre everyone had to show proof of vaccine, which was a new experience for me. This could either be on the NHS app or by showing the card you got when receiving the dose and ID. Perhaps this is the way things will go in the future. Face masks were advised but very few people were wearing them in the auditorium or moving around the theatre.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 (transaction fee).
The Rocky Horror Show is at Alexandra Theatre Birmingham from 27 September to 2 October 2021
For more information or to book tickets visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-rocky-horror-show/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/ or call the box office on 020 7206 1174
Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS