REVIEW: Rocky Horror Show, the marmite of musical theatre

The Cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show pictured during Dress Rehearsals. Included, are Ben Forster, Brad, Rachel Grundy, Janet and Philip Franks, narrator. DER 3613SL208 Photo: Stephen Latimer
The Cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show pictured during Dress Rehearsals. Included, are Ben Forster, Brad, Rachel Grundy, Janet and Philip Franks, narrator. DER 3613SL208 Photo: Stephen Latimer

It’s quite hard to describe the spectacle that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show - I would say perhaps it is the marmite of musical theatre. You will either love it, or hate it. It is absolutely guaranteed to provoke a reaction.

And it provoked quite the reaction at the Millennium Forum when it opened in all its cross-dressing, monster-making, bed-hopping glory on Monday night. While attendance was less than you would expect at such a high quality production, by the time the curtain fell everyone of those in attendance was on their feet, cheering, whooping and - yes - doing the Timewarp. (Even I did little jump to the left...)

Rocky Horror has a cult following - evidence of which was on show on Monday night as women in basques and fishnets showed up ready to sing along. There was even sight of a man in full Frank_N-Furter (the hero or villain of the piece depending on your take on things) get up - skimpy knickers, suspenders and all.

Those who know the show clearly know the show - there are well known and well rehearsed heckles which came thick and fast from the audience. Innuendo was the cornerstone of the night - so if you are easily offended by some of the coarser language around, the show might not be for you.

But for the most part these “heckles” and ad-libs added to the comedy of the piece and there were many times when I found myself laughing out loud.

The music is, however, what makes this show worth seeing. The songs come one after the other - in a variety of styles (from ballads to rock and roll numbers) and will have you tapping your feet even though the songs may not be familiar to you.

There are no weak links in the production. The singing is flawless, the set’s brilliant, the choreography perfect and the casting? It felt as if ever person on stage was destined for the role they were playing.

I was particularly impressed with Rachel Grundy as Janet, Ceris Hine as the giggling Columbia and ‘Superstar’ winner Ben Forster as Brad.

But nothing could top Oliver Thornton as Frank-N-Furter himself. He was exquisite - and I can safely say it’s the first (and only time) a man in stockings has ever appealed to me!

Go and see this show. Sing, laugh, dance and let loose and enjoy the twisted, funny, funky tale of one dark and stormy night.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show runs at the Millennium Forum until Saturday night.