Highly anticipated and much-loved; The Rocky Horror Show landed at The Liverpool Empire last night and it did not disappoint. Loyal Rocky Horror fans showed up adorned in various versions of the suspenders, glitter and accessories of their favourite on-stage characters from this treasured show.
One of the best things about this musical is that the excitement begins before the curtain has even gone up. The show spills out into the auditorium as the audience are ready and waiting to do their part, to fully immerse themselves into the musical that has ben cited as one of the most important plays to arise from the counterculture movement of the 60s and early 70s.
The show first opened at The Royal Court in 1973, was turned into a hit film and has since been delighting audiences around the world pretty much continuously, having been performed in 30 countries, in every continent and translated into more than 20 different languages. Its popularity rises as it continues to be performed, and its not difficult to see why.
Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of how recently engaged Brad and Janet get caught in a storm after their car breaks down, and seek shelter at the castle of mad, quirky and incredibly sexual Dr Frank N Furter. They meet a whole host of crazy characters including a freshly created hunk of a man made by Frank; Rocky Horror.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe on a set that encompasses both the Hollywood movie and creepy yet sophisticated castle theme, the first half of this show contains some of the most iconic numbers; ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’, ‘Damn It, Janet!’ and ‘The Time Warp’. The big show numbers get everyone on their feet and show-case the entire cast’s remarkable dancing abilities as well as the fantastic sound they make as a chorus.
Those who have been to see the show a few times will be aware of the various line-ups which have included well-known names in the past. At the helm of this tour is Blue singer Duncan James who looks almost unrecognisable as Frank-N-Furter. The former Hollyoaks star strutted his way into the limelight in the full corset, suspenders and high heels get-up and was met with a roar from the audience for his first number ‘Sweet Transvestite’. His characterisation of the legendary transvestite from transsexual Transylvania was perfect, and of course his vocals were second to none. He brought exactly the right amount of cheeky, sensual energy to the stage and was a real joy to watch.
Everyone’s favourite corny, twee pair Brad and Janet were played by a1’s Ben Adams and Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton. They were perfectly matched together and played the coy, innocent couple who are constantly baffled by what is going on around them superbly.
Joanne Clifton’s rendition of Touch-a-Touch Me is a real chance for her to show off her vocals and gets to showcase her incredible dancing talents at certain moments throughout the show. Ben Adams is perfect as Brad, who is trying to be macho but gives in to his wild side in the presence of Dr Frank N Furter. The bedroom scenes are a highlight of the show and it must be particularly difficult for the cast to keep a straight face during these scenes.
The role of Riff Raff is reprised by Kristian Lavercombe who has racked up over 1,400 performances in the role. Lavercombe is utterly perfect in the role, and is a perfect amount of creepy, loveable and hilarious as Riff Raff.
Beverley Callard (best known for playing Liz McDonald in Coronation Street) takes on the role of the Narrator, adapting seamlessly to the audience participation (whatever that might be) and delivering the Narrator’s iconic wit and dry humour.
The entire cast and the fantastic live band deserve a mention, but the other notable roles were upheld by Miracle Change as high-octane Columbia, Ross Chisari as Eddie/Dr Scott, Callum Evans as the mighty muscular Rocky and Laura Harrison as Magenta.
This new UK Tour of The Rocky Horror Show is everything that die-hard fans know and love and is sure to have newbies falling head over heels for it. It’s tantalising, wild and a hell of a lot of fun.