The Pavilion, Bournemouth
Review by Liz Turner
Having never experienced the rock n roll musical The Rocky Horror Show before, I must admit I was somewhat perplexed about the whole cult following that has built up over the last 40 years.
What I did discover on opening night at the Pavilion in Bournemouth is that experience is the right word here as this musical is far more than just a show.
Arriving at the theatre, I was initially a bit taken back by the number of people dressed as characters from the show. However it wasn’t long before I began to feel like the one left out, dressed as I was in crop trousers and a not too revealing top. The camaraderie of the corset clad fans, those wearing fish net tights and the drag artists has to be experienced first hand to appreciate it.
Don’t expect to sit in your seat and clap politely at The Rocky Horror Show. Before the show started, the two women sitting next to me had enthused about how many times they’d seen the show. The basque-wearing devotees had seen this production in Bristol earlier in the tour and proudly boasted they had tickets for the last night in November.
As for the story, naive Janet (Diana Vickers) and geeky Brad (Ben Freeman), who’ve just got engaged, have a flat tyre and trying to find help, discover a castle, straight from a horror movie and ask for help. Here their lives are changed courtesy of Frank-N-Furter (Liam Tamne), who sings that he’s a ‘sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania’. He reveals his creation, Rocky Horror (Dominic Andersen), a muscle bound, blond haired, tanned hunk. Frank and friends turn out to be aliens with their spaceship blasting off leaving Janet and Brad reeling from their encounter of an extremely close kind.
Not the greatest of plots but who cares, the show is hilarious. Narrator Norman Pace did a magnificent task of keeping control of the raucous audience. With quick one liner replies to the heckling and innuendos shouted out by the cult followers in the front rows, he steered the show safely from beginning to end.
Timeless classic include ‘Sweet Transvestite’, ‘Damn It Janet’ and the legendary ‘Time Warp’, which got everyone in the audience up, jumping to the left then taking a step to the right.
This was riotous fun and the cast well deserved their standing ovation.
The show comes with a warning that it has rude parts – which it does but I’d never describe them as offensive. Maybe it’s not for the easily shocked but should be a must for those who want to enjoy a non-stop party.
The Rocky Horror Show continues at the Pavilion until Saturday 27 August.