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Rocky Horror Show - Curve Review 2022

"there's no crime in giving yourself over to absolute pleasure"


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Richard O'Brien's musical phenomenon Rocky Horror Show remains ever-popular even as it fast approaches its 50th anniversary since it first hit the stage in 1973. Now as part of the latest touring production it arrives at Curve. 

If ever there was a show to banish the January blues Rocky Horror offers complete escapism with a night of bawdy bonkers brilliance as you sweep along the journey with the young virgin couple Brad and Janet as their car breaks down and they end up at the castle of transexual Transylvanian Frank 'N' Furter on the night his new creature is destined to be born.

"The Time Warp". Photo by Dave Freeman.

O'Brien's stonking soundtrack feels as alive as ever. It's loud and you can't help but move in your seat as the score is delivered by 5 high-class musicians with musical direction by Greg Arrowsmith. It's a great skill to combine big rock and roll numbers like 'The Time Warp''Hot Patootie' or 'Rose Tint My World' and then the slower gentle melodies of 'Once In A While' or 'I'm Going Home'.

Every one of the characters is outstandingly portrayed by the cast. Stephen Webb's endlessly sexy and sensual Frank 'N' Furter commands the set of heels made so famous by Tim Curry in the original production as well as the film adaptation. Webb skillfully portrays the mania of the role whilst also making him believable, and his voice is undeniably fantastic.

The virginal Brad and Janet are portrayed by Ore Oduba and Haley Flaherty. Oduba seemingly has grown in confidence and assurance in the delivery of the role since I previously saw the production back in August 2021. Flaherty is somewhat a veteran of the show having first played the role back in 2009, although she appears ageless, and it's clear she is still having a great time with the show and has one of the strongest voices in the company.

Kristian Lavercombe continues his record-breaking run as Riff Raff. It's no wonder he returns time after time as he is on par with O'Brien himself who not only wrote the piece but originated the role. Rarely is an actor so perfectly cast in a role but Lavercombe proves time after time why he is so beloved by Rocky Horror fans. 

Suzie McAdam oozes confidence as Magenta and the Usherette. Her vocals are gorgeous and her delivery of the parts is great. Lauren Ingram's quirky likable Columbia managed to convey the right level of feeling especially as the character's world increasingly unravels.

The company of Rocky Horror. Photo by Dave Freeman.

Joe Allen makes every moment his own. In the first act, his only scene as Eddie is unforgettable with rocking vocals in 'Hot Patootie' and in the second act as Dr. Scott. You almost forget it's the same actor who has played both parts. The creature rocky is portrayed by Ben Westhead who has boundless energy as he flips and flies around the stage.

Credit must be paid to the phantoms who not only enhance the larger numbers but also move pieces of the set and add to the action. Reece Budin, Darcy Finden, Jordan Fox, and Stefania Du Toit all look and perform well looming like shadows in the night.

One of the unique elements of the show is audience participation, with Philip Franks as the narrator breaking the fourth wall throughout as the shoutouts are thrown back at him. As someone who confesses to having seen Rocky Horror now 60 something times I know the shoutouts fairly well, although I didn't join in with all of them through my own anxiety, I grew in confidence and by the second act I was firmly heckingly 'your career' and other obscenities back at Franks who constantly bats any shout out back with great hilarity. One of his best on the night was a  wickedly funny reference to Curve's recent production of A Chorus Line.

Christopher Luscombe's long association means the production continues in safe hands as he directs with Nathan N Wright's energetic choreography performed with real flair. Sue Blane's costumes and Hugh Durrant's set create this classic B-movie feel particularly those referenced in the opening number 'Science Fiction Double Feature' with the production superbly lit with design by Nick Richings

The show is pure unadulterated fun. You have to throw yourself into the experience, as Frank himself says "there's no crime in giving yourself over to absolute pleasure". Rocky Horror continues to be hot and offers a joyous night. As soon as the curtain comes down you want to go around and do it all again. "I really love that rock 'n' roll".

Rocky Horror Show continues at Curve until Saturday 15th January 2022. Tickets are available from www.curveonline.co.uk. The world tour continues thereafter with the full schedule and ticket details from https://www.rockyhorror.co.uk/

Lauren Ingram (Columbia), Suzie McAdam (Magenta), Haley Flaherty (Janet), Ore Oduba (Brad), Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff). Photo by Dave Freeman

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