Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey …
It all started in 1973 in a small black box studio, with thrift-shop corsets and hand-me-down heels; Richard O’Brien had no idea that his famous, lasting creation would ‘Time Warp’ through 40 years. It has been performed almost continually across the world but following the 1975 film adaption, it gloriously camp combination of catchy songs, outrageous cross-dressing and hammy B-movie plot has become a part of our modern culture.
It tells the story of strait-laced and conservative newly engaged couple Brad (James Darch) and Janet (Joanne Clifton) find themselves down a dark windy road on their way to visit their old science teacher Dr Scott (Ross Chisari) when their car breaks down. Seeking help, they find an old castle and caught up in a strange lair and lab of Transylvanian Transvestite, Frank N Furter (Duncan James) and his pleasure-seeking, adoring entourage.
Narrated by Philip Franks, well known from The Darling Buds of May, Heartbeat and Midsomer Murders, to name a few; he is cheeky and witty, pausing just long enough to encourage the extremely quick audience to answer back.
The audience, some dressed is drag sporting ‘Team Brad’ and ‘Team Janet’ signs are brought to their feet doing the Time Warp and screaming in delight as the delicious, sensual and sassy Frank-N-Furter makes his entrance. Everyone is singing loudly, wolf whistling and doing the actions; the theatre has been taken over as it becomes part of the show.
All eyes were on Callum Evans, starring as Rocky, wearing leopard print and flexing his glorious muscles as the perfect physical specimen, the creature created by Frank for his pleasure. He is not just brawn but also has the most wonderful singing voice and performs gymnastic moves (he even walks off stage on his hands!) without fault which brings the audience to whoop and holler.
Hugh Durrant, who was one of the 65 audience members at the very first night at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, was asked to provide a ‘new-look’. At a very early meeting with Chris Luscombe, he scribbled on a piece of paper saying that the set should be of a reel of film unspooling. With Frank-N-Furter’s hallway was channelled on Hammer horror’s gore infused Gothic interiors, while the lab was monochrome like the Frankenstein movies. Scene changes where cleverly done with fluid movement of sets combined with dance and song; keeping the quick and effortless motion of the story flowing.
The lighting was extremely clever; from electrical storm to laser guns firing it was perfectly timed and where necessary it shone over the audience to bring them into the story as they danced, called out and became part of the show.
We admired those who made the effort to dress up; laughed uncontrollably at the cheekiness and raunchiness of the storyline that was intercepted by the audience adding their lines in pantomime fashion. This is a cult that will last for many years to come; and if you haven’t yet done the Time Warp, now is the time to do it.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
The Rocky Horror Show is at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow from 12-17 August 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/kings or call the box office on 0844 871 7648.
King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN | 0844 871 7648