Rocky Horror Show at the Churchill Theatre

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Rocky Horror Show is possibly the musical I have seen the most often – from my days working at the Churchill Theatre and the excited anticipation about it coming there to going to see it in Brighton with friends, this show holds a particular place in my heart. I therefore went along to see the latest tour at the Churchill Theatre with high hopes.

For those unfamiliar with Rocky Horror the show tells of unsuspecting Brad and Janet who brake down just outside of transvestite’s Frank n Furter’s House. They arrive hoping to use the phone but get embroiled in Frank N Furter’s revelating his latest creation, Rocky.

Rocky Horror Show - en Adams (Brad) and Joanne Clifton (Janet)
Photo credit David Freeman

I needn’t have worried about this tour living up to expectations as this was one of my favourites productions of Rocky Horror Show that I have seen with everything from the cast to the set and costumes being top notch.

The narrator was played by Philip Franks who came up with some of the wittest retorts to the audience participation I have heard. They were often relevant not only to current news stories but also to the location. This helped with the fresh feel of the show and made me want to come back to see what else he would come out with.

Stephen Webb took on the iconic role of Frank N Furter. He had great stage presence and strutted around in his heels as if he was born in them. You easily believed that he had people (or indeed aliens) eating out of the palm of his hands. Callum Evans took the part of muscle bound Rocky. Not only did he look the part but his gymnastics background added an impressive twist to the part. He flipped and jumped across the set with apparent ease leaving the audience in awe.

Rocky Horror Show - Callum Evans (Rocky) and Stephen Webb (Frank)

It was not just these cast members that shone. Laura Harrison as Magenta and Kristian Lavergome as Riff Riff not only had strong characteristation harking back to the original portrayal but powerhouse vocals. These vocals are often something that can be found lacking in productions of Rocky Horror but not in this case and Harrison as the Usherette opened the show and set the bar high on this front.

Brad and Janet were played by Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton who transformed from innocent couple to Frank’s playthings wonderfully. Adam’s squeaky clean boy band roots proved great training for Brad, whilst Clifton and Evan’s performance during Toucha Toucha Touch Me in particular gave her a chance to show off her strictly moves and him a chance to flip across the stage adding a wow factor to this iconic number.

It wasn’t just the sublime casting that set this production of Rocky Horror Show apart from others. The direction by Christopher Luscombe was fun and playful and whilst there was more than a nod to the traditional elements of the show Luscombe still put a fresh stamp on this cult classic. This is s theme that continued throughout from the comic book effect set to the quirky costumes.

The current tour of Rocky Horror Show is brilliantly fun and surprisingly fresh for a show that appears to tour constantly. Irreverent and cheeky…..and that’s before you get the audience participation. With possibly the strongest cast I have seen in this show yet I encourage everyone from Rocky virgins to those that know all of the audience participation lines to get out their corset and time warp down to Bromley.

Rocky Horror Show is playing at the Churchill Theatre until Saturday 20th April. To find out more about the tour then visit their website.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Six, Dirty Dancing and Abigail’s Party.

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