Tuesday, 29 October 2013

ROCKY HORROR SHOW (UK Tour) Review October 2013

It's astounding..... time is fleeting..... madness takes it's toll.... but listen closely, not for very much longer does the tour continue! The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton celebrates the final week of the 40th Anniversary production of Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show and with halloween just around the corner, there's no better time. 

Innocent couple Brad and Janet suffer a flat tyre and seek refuge in the home of Frank-N-Furter - a transvestite of transexual Transylvania. Things go from insane to... well... more insane.

Dani Harmer and Ben Forster

ITV Superstar winner Ben Forster rejoins the cast after a second arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and is perfectly preppy as Brad Majors. A particular highlight for Ben is 'Once In A While', a song that is a more subtle and tender moment, but a time to showcase his real talent aside from the craziness. Tracy Beaker actress Dani Harmer is a far cry from her Dumping Ground days as the innocent Janet Weiss - she proves to be a versatile performer.

Kristian Lavercombe

Kristian Lavercombe is an excellent Riff Raff. The role made famous by the show's creator Richard O'Brien is a tough one to crack. Having already played the role on an international tour, Kristian is due to appear in the 2014 Australian tour and it's easy to see why he's a favourite. Shrieking his way through with killer vocals, his Time Warp is guaranteed to have you on your feet - an essential member of any production. Ceris Hine returns as Columbia having previously played the role in 2010. Bursting with energy and her tiny frame and squeaky voice make her a cutesy and loveable tap dancing delight. Jade Westaby is a strong Magenta/Usherette. Henry Davis is Rocky, the hunky creation of Dr Frank-N-Furter. His characterisation is perhaps the most suitable I've seen and earns audience sympathy over some of the more 'dumb' previous interpretations, but I guess many don't even look past his bulging leopard-print speedos.

Oliver Thornton

I think whatever show he's in, Oliver Thornton manages to steal it - simply one of the best around. Hot in the heels of many a famous Franks, Oliver surely puts his stamp on the iconic role. A born entertainer, his theatrical highlight of the night has to be The Floorshow and 'Don't Dream It', again a more subtle part of the show but it's in those moments when the message truly comes across. What we get here is a fully-rounded Frank, not just a camp, stocking-clad sex maniac but a somewhat believable character.

Philip Franks is the perfect narrator. Not only because of his willing self-deprecation but for witty one-liners and quick come-backs to some of the more obscure audience heckles. The Phantom chorus provide eerie harmonies throughout, it is a shame they're not a bigger part of the story, they're used often to change scenery.

The set and lighting has been re-designed for this tour and impressively brings the 40 year old musical right up to date in a production that feels incredibly relevant whilst very much keeping the feel of a horror B-Movie.

For a Monday night, Wolverhampton has possibly never been so full of energy. This is one hell of a party - Fishnets, frivolity and fiercely fun! Don't dream it, see it!

Book for the FINAL week of this 40th Anniversary extravaganza at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre here. There is an official after party at Blast Off, open til 3am after the final show on Saturday 2nd November 2013 (more info here).

Cast List: Oliver Thornton, Ben Forster, Dani Harmer, Philip Franks, Henry Davis, Ceris Hine, Kristian Lavercombe, Richard Meek, Jayde Westaby, Maria Coyne, Christos Dante, David Gale, Rachel Grundy, Andrew Ahern.

Watch the 2013 cast doing the Time Warp!

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