FEW things would encourage respectable members of the public out onto Lime Street in stockings and suspenders on a cold February night.
Fewer yet would encourage then to spend hours upon hours of their lives learning – and regurgitating – the show’s entire script but – hey – that’s the joy of The Rocky Horror Show.
Now celebrating 40 years of sweet transvestitism, Richard O’Brien’s tongue in cheek tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s is a familiar story. Geeky Brad and his squeaky clean fiancee Janet meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house on a stormy night.
There they encounter scientific creations and have their eyes opened by a cast of unusual characters.
Reality TV winner Ben Forster was nerdily perfect as Brad, soapstar Roxanne Pallett portrayed Janet’s meek and wild sides well, while The X Factor’s Rhydian was something of a revelation as the gold-underpanted Rocky.
Philip Franks has stepped out from Countdown’s Dictionary Corner and proved himself an excellent Narrator – even chucking in a joke about 50 Shades of Gray.
But it was Oliver Thornton stole the show as the magnificent sweet transvestite Frank’n’Furter.
Strutting across the stage in impressively high heels and laddered fishnet stockings, he brought out the role’s dark humour beautifully. He’d clearly studied Tim Currie’s definitive film portrayal, and why not?
This isn’t a show about originality. The audience want to see and hear what they’ve all enjoyed so many times before.
Forty years on, the jokes are the same, the songs are the same – even the ad libs are the same. It has become predictable in its spontaneity.
But there’s still a place for its risque blend of science-fiction, horror, comedy and music.
Of course, the story is thinner than Riff Raff’s stringy hair, but then it always was.
It’s a pastiche of all those bad American films, with plenty of naughty British humour mixed in.
With an impressive set, an excellent live band and a strong cast, this production offered fans exactly what they wanted to see: a faithful reproduction of a well loved original, with a few new bits chucked in and a lot of men in women’s underwear – and that was just the audience.