rocky horror

The Rocky Horror Show

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton


Richard O’Brien’s cult musical extravaganza displays no sign of losing any appeal since it’s 1973 London debut. The show has played pretty much everywhere round the world since those early days and crowds still flock to pay homage, dressed mostly in fishnets and leather basques. And that’s just the blokes.

On a wet Monday evening, Wolverhampton Grand theatre resembled some sort of fetish convention as die hard fans tottered in readiness for a show most had seen several times before.

It really is like an old friend to its army of fans who know every word uttered and every hint of sexual innuendo on offer. Whilst usual theatrical etiquette frowns upon any utterance from the audience, this show positively thrives on it. Random responses and shouts from all round the auditorium range from witty one liners to down and dirty banter all handled beautifully by the actors.- no doubt used to it all by now.

The tale of high school sweethearts, Janet (Joanne Clifton) and Brad (James Darch) seeking help in a spooky castle when their car breaks down, has a fair few elements of a pantomime., albeit a very weird, adult one, We have men dressed as women, a heroic couple, audience participation, full on dance routines and even a narrator with a big book. It may be naughty but it’s still good, firm fun with true theatrical roots.

Act 1 delivers slightly more punch than the second act – maybe because its most well known numbers are placed there. The Time Warp, Dam it Janet and Sweet Tranvestite all feature early on in proceedings and set a high bar. All numbers, backed by a pulsating band placed onstage, are handled with real panache by an all round impressive cast

Joanne Clifton gives just the right amount of curious innocence as never been touched (yet) Janet whilst James Darch’s nicer than nice Brad proves a perfect sickly sweet match.

Kristian Lavercombe sleazes his way around everyone deliciously as Riff Raff, servant to the outrageously impressive and cheekily trussed Frank-N-Furter, played with real swagger by Stephen Webb.

Philip Franks oozes gravitas as The Narrator and gives quick thinking responses to the variety of audience comments that greet his offerings. Nice set of legs too for a man of his slightly more mature vintage.

Nice performances too from Laura Harrison as Magenta/Usherette and Miracle Chance as the excitable Columbia.

Hugh Durrant’s set is suitably camp, glitzy and cleverly lit – particularly effective for Frank n Furters dramatic entrance.

Almost 50 years on, the show still works. The loyalty it has spurred amongst generations of followers who come back time and time again is key and testament to its success.

If the opening night reaction was anything to go by, the roof may very well be raised by the end of the week.

Sweet, seductive and Sexy.  Grab your stillettos, pull on those stockings and get yourself a ticket. You know you want to.  To 19-10-19.

Tom Roberts


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