I was excited to receive 2 tickets for a viewing of cult musical, Richard O’Briens, Rocky Horror Show at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. Located near the train station and with a carpark just behind the theatre it makes attending the venue easy.
Something to also be aware of despite restrictions being relaxed for “Freedom Day” the Mayflower currently have a great policy for Covid-safe viewing, to put their customers at ease. The day of the show I was sent a clear emailing detailing their new policies, including mask wearing and socially distanced seating for the week. Although, obviously at the time of writing this is the policy it is subject to change. The staff on site were also informative, professional and friendly.
I took my mum along to the showing, who was excited to hear that Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba was to be playing the role of Brad and having loved the music insisted she accompany me.
I’ve only seen extracts of the film version Rocky Horror Show but know some of the iconic references and vaguely knew the storyline. The story follows a young, strait-laced couple Brad (Ore Oduba) and Janet (Haley Flaherty), whose car gets a flat tyre late one stormy night, in the middle of nowhere. They seek help from the occupants of a nearby castle, who turn out to be a little strange. The events of that evening are altogether bizarre and not just the characters so expect an extraordinary, camp show, because it delivers this in spades.
The occupants of said castle include Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb), Transylvanian transvestite and purveyor of a lot of sexual tension and his servants Eddie (Joe Allen), Columbia (Lauren Ingram), Magenta/Usherette (Suzie McAdam), Riff Raff (Kristen Lavercombe) and Rocky (Callum Evans) along with a number of phantoms.
The moment Frank-N-Furter made his entrance he drew you in along with his minions with his charm and charisma. Everyone sang along, whistled and whooped and I must admit I was a little jealous at how well he strutted in heels. He was an absolute natural! Considering how iconic Tim Currys’ performance of the character was in the 1975 movie adaption, I knew he had big heels to fill. He had the voice, moves and charisma and did an incredible job.
Kudos to Callum Evans as well, whose character Rocky spends the majority of his time in a skimpy undergarment, the create created entirely for Frank’s pleasure. He didn’t just play a fine specimen though; he had a fantastic voice, and I really enjoyed his scenes.
Philip Franks is a fantastic narrator; he has a large catalogue of work so don’t be surprised if you recognise him or his voice. We loved his delivery and encouragement to the audience to respond, which I quickly realised was part of the experience. He had witty comebacks, comedic timing with cultural and local references and innuendo ready for every audience shout out.
The sets were also clearly considered and moved fluidly, combined with dancing and singing to make the show flow effortlessly, with commendation to the lighting technician who I feel made some clever atmospheric additions to the show – laser lighting over the audience to name just one.
Although, I’ve singled out a few characters to note their performances, everyone had high energy and delivered fantastic and immersive show as a team.
The atmosphere for Rocky Horror Show draws a crowd like no other, expect to interact with the narrator, dance along to the time warp, and see some spectacular outfits from the audience as well. It’s all part of the fun! The show was camp, outrageous and hilarious. I highly recommend this to everyone, you need not have seen the film, the show is gripping and exhilarating in equal parts and will have you laughing from start to finish.
Rating: A steamy 5/5
Tickets cost between £19.50 and £44.50 (booking fees may apply).
Rocky Horror Show is at the Mayflower Theatre from 16th-24th July and tickets can be purchased from here.
Mayflower Theatre 22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton SO15 1GE