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Rocky Horror Show - Royal Concert Hall Nottingham Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Disclaimer - the ticket was gifted in return for an honest review.


Rocky Horror Show is celebrating it's 50th anniversary with a world tour production that this week is 
playing at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall. It's a "night out" you'll remember for a "very long time".

The cast of Rocky Horror with Stephen Webb (Frank N Furter) centre. Photo by Dave Freeman

Richard O'Brien's hit musical was ahead of it's time back in 1973 when it premiered at the Royal Court in London and remains a crowd pleasing delight with many of the audience donning a fabulous array of costumes and joining in with the shoutouts. It may be 50 years old but there's no sign of age on this show.

For the 'virgins' out there, Rocky Horror follows a young virginal couple Brad and Janet who have recently gotten engaged and want to visit their old science tutor and friend Dr Scott. On the way their car breaks down in a storm and the nearest solace is a "castle back down the road a few miles". That castle happens to belong to Transexual Transylvanian Frank N Furter. Brad and Janet enter on a rather special night as Frank's new creature is about to be born. The pair are drawn in with the tempation of "forbidden fruit" becoming too much. Things take dramatic turns before the climax of the production. 

If you don't know the story then you'll certainly know 'The Time Warp' which comes around 20 minutes into the first act and has the audience on it's feet joining in with the iconic moves. Nathan M Wright's choreography throughout is lively and loud and performed superbly by the company. A 5 piece band under musical director Charlie Ingles creates a thunderously good sound.

Chris Luscombe has been directing Rocky Horror for over 15 years now with this production remaning the same as the last few tours that have graced the UK and internationally. Hugh Durrant's cinematic set uses the space well to create the right feel to the production with Sue Blane's instantly recongisable costumes adding to the sexy feel of the piece. Great atmospheric lighting is by Nick Richings, aided further by some stage haze. Gareth Owen's sound design manages to be pitch perfect even in the louder moments.

Donning the heels as Frank N Furter is an excellent Stephen Webb, right from bursting out on stage in 'Sweet Transvesite' he oozes confidence and charm. Webb manages to convey the mania and the heartfelt well leaving an well-rounded character. He strides confidently and his vocals are goregous particularly in 'I'm Going Home'.
Stephen Webb (Frank N Furter). Photo by Dave Freeman
Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty have been playing Brad and Janet on and off for nearly 15 years and both prove why with perfect performances as the couple unexpectedly thrown into this world. Meek begins with geeky warmth and flourishes throughout with 'Once In A While' providing a moment for his vocals to shine, and his voice is heavenly. Flaherty nails every beat of the journey of Janet, her portrayal grows and shows the depth and skill of someone who truly knows the character inside out. Together the duo are fantastic and could arguably be the best Brad and Janet in the shows 50 year history.

If you haven't experienced Rocky Horror before you may find the audience shoutouts a little unusual but it's vital component of the unique experience that the show is. Much of the interaction comes through the Narrator who guides the audience along through the piece. Joe McFadden is great narrator, ably batting off the call backs with ease and humour, he does rush things a little rather than letting things sit for a couple of seconds but his energetic delivery is always great to watch.

Kristian Lavercombe has played well over 2000 performances as Riff Raff and IS the character. His mannerisms, movement and voice is perfect from the get go. Suzie McAdam's sultry Magenta is sexy and sensual throughout and her vocals shine particularly as the Usherette where she books ends the show with 'Science Fiction Double Feature' and it's reprise. Darcy Finden is bundle of energy and light as Columbia, she is sweet and likeable from the get go.

Joe Allen only gets minimal time to make an impact and a big impact he makes. As the rock 'n' roll Eddie he shows great showmanship and epic vocals before playing wheelchair bound Dr Scott in the second act. Ben Westhead's has the perfect muscular body as Rocky and grows into Frank's creature, although I'm less sure about the Ken style wig that he's been provided with.

Completing the company are Reece Budin, Fionan O'Carroll, Beth Woodcock and Stefania Du Toit as the Phantoms, they loom on stage, though they are background characters this doesn't mean they don't stand out. They blend in to the surroundings well enchaning the feel of the production, adding vocals and texture to the piece.

It may be 50 years young but Rocky Horror is destined to continue to wow audiences, it's an undoubted crowd pleaser. It's bonkers, bold, sensational fun and gloriously unique. Remaining THE hot ticket wherever it goes, grab your fishnets and head along to see this marvel of a show.

Rocky Horror Show plays at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 26th August with tickets avaliable from The show continues it's World Tour booking with dates into 2024, visit for booking information.

Richard Meek (Brad) and Haley Flaherty (Janet) with the Phantoms. Photo by Dave Freeman.

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