Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Rocky Horror Show - Liverpool Empire Theatre

The Rocky Horror Show
Book/Music/Lyrics: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe

Its astounding that from the moment the audience enters the theatre to see "The Rocky Horror Show" its members are aware that they are in for an experience quite unlike any other show past or present. That awareness is both comforting and awe-inspiring, especially when they are all dressed like characters from the show both male and female alike. The electrifying atmosphere from the usherette appearing on stage to the finale of the “Time Warp” the dancing in the aisles and the heckling of the narrator, all added together make this a most definite Adult Only show.

This production of Richard O'Brien's "The Rocky Horror Show" is indeed full of wonder and touches the human spirit in magical and often unanticipated ways. The show's songs, still fresh and powerful after twenty-five years, can easily stir both memory and longing and, without as much as a warning, can elicit irrepressible joy as well as an awareness of a time gone by that is probably not recoverable except through memories from the past or visions of some future whose dimension is circumscribed only by the framework of fantasy.

Brad and Janet embark on a journey which is to turn their dull unexciting lives upside down. Having just been to a friend’s wedding Brad proposes to Janet and they set off in search of Dr Scott to share the news of their betrothal. The evening turns stormy and when the car gets a flat tyre, Brad and Janet set off to find help in a mysterious castle they had seen a couple of miles back.

The Rocky Horror Show has all the ingredients of a depraved society gone mad and one must ask oneself when and where do the lines draw on such immorality, yes the show has the energy and the excitement even the comedy factor to keep one interested and laughing but it also goes a bit too far in the debauchery stakes.

Michael Starke as the narrator manages to sort out the hecklers without any trouble giving his humour a true chance to shine through and allows you to drawn along by his cheeky liverpudlian wit. The performances of Haley Flaherty (Janet) and Mark Evans (Brad) leave you in no doubt as to their innocence. While David Bedella as Frank ‘N’ Furter played the role so well you could have easily mistook him for a real transvestite, it was an amazing spectacle to behold.

The clever use of Phantoms to help the scenery flow with the storyline was a truly remarkable piece of ingenuity designed by Janet Bird and with lighting by Nick Richings together they give the whole stage a fearful ghostlike form, which allows smooth running and transformation between scenes.

Having only seen clips of the Rocky Horror Show, I was looking forward to seeing the whole performance and to possibly singing along to the songs I knew from the show and not considering myself to be a prude by any means was slightly embarrassed by the sexual innuendoes in the bedroom scenes and felt a little would have been more than enough leaving the rest to the imagination, but that is my opinion and obviously not that of the audience there tonight who whistled and sang and danced their way through the whole presentation.

High Energy, remarkable acting and close to the knuckle humour all made this a very enjoyable night at the theatre.

Photos: Eric Richmond
Runs until Sat 14th Nov
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