Reviewed by Joy Wright
The Rocky Horror Show is a camp cult classic which seems to power through the years, now with a riotous and loud 50 years on stage after starting out in London in 1973.
The show is a fabulous and sexed up nod to the Sci-fi and B-movies of the 60’s and 70’s, with nods to Flash Gordon and Forbidden Planet amongst others. Where the hunks were well oiled, the glam was trashy and the plots were predictable. Squashing all that, heaps of comedy, a cast load of stereotypes and then the most outrageous characters of all time all together in one show was a risky and yet entirely genius move.
Even if you have never seen the show you’ll know a lot of the music such as The Time Warp, Touch-a, Touch-a and Sweet Transvestite. There’s plenty more with a sprinkling of glam-rock, hard rock, pop and more. This music, especially The Time Warp has been part of the collective musical conciousness for a long time now but now you can see where it began, for one week only, here in Sheffield.
When the epitome of the perfect couple Brad and Janet get caught with a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere they seek help at a handy local castle. Inside they meet RiffRaff, a spectral and lumpsome butler type who brings them into the depths of the castle where they meet a selection of creepy and crazy characters, ruining their innocence one step at a time. The grand reveal moments are both Frank’n ‘Furter, the transexual lord of the manor and Rocky, the perfect creation of objectified male body with a newly made and naive mind. Both are funand the audience are in raptures as their favourite characters are revealed. Now, Richard O’Brien and Tim Curry made these roles what they are and many fans are relentless in the comparisons of each actor who takes on the iconic mantles. Stephen Webb has the X-factor; the true and undefinable presence on stage to play Frank N Furter with fun, allure and enthusiasm. Exactly as the character should be and his belting vocals nail the role precisely.
You might find it hard to believe if you’re in the audience but they don’t have plants in the audience. The audience participation is the product of the years of cult status this show has achieved. There are many well rehearsed response and the cast are waiting for them, but every once in a while someone throws in a witty and current response which makes the narrator give pause for a moment, often amused. The show I saw was no exception with a crack about Nadim Zahawi flung out by one audience member and with a rapid response from Jackie Clune as The Narrator. She was dry and funny, an excellent foil to the mad cap show going on around her. The cultural commentary and political jibes are fairly non stop, some don’t quite land, some are clearly well aimed by the audience. And there’s the singing and dancing, be prepared to be up dancing or you’ll miss a few moments of the show whilst everyone else aroound you is up and boogeying.
And if you’ve truly been hiding under a rock for the last 50 years, you might like to know that dressing up is quite the norm for a night at Rocky Horror, many ardent fans have their favourite character they like to dress up as. We bumped into one teen dying of mortification because her parents were dressed as Eddie and Magenta. “It’s normal” I assured her and a little later, once she could see the amount of folk in costume she seemed to have relaxed.
With that in mind you’ll need to be aware this show is labelled as only suitable for those over 14 years of age. Even then, for some it still won’t be suitable.
This is absolutely a fun night out and it is packed full of energy, a brilliant show for the dismal days of January.
Tickets are available but in limited amounts now until 28th January with prices between £15.00 and £50.00. There are a very small amount of choice seats left so be quick if you want to join in the fun.
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/the-rocky-horror-show/dates or call on 0114 2496000