Review: The Rocky Horror Show at Bristol Hippodrome: reviewed by Lee Callaway 9/10
THERE are very few theatrical shows as popular and as enduring as The Rocky Horror Show.
An attempt by its writer Richard O'Brien to combine his passion for sci-fi and horror B-movies with '50s rock and roll, it opened in a small, experimental theatre in London in 1973, where it became a smash hit right from its premiere.
At various locations in the West End, the show would eventually run for seven years and almost 3,000 performances.
Its film adaptation in 1975 has given even more people around the world a chance to enjoy Rocky Horror's peculiar delights, but its roots lie firmly in the theatre, where an audience gets a real chance to not only experience the production live, but in some cases to interact with it.
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The plot, for those few who haven't seen it, centres around the exploits of a rather stiff young couple, Brad (Ben Forster, winner of ITV's Superstar) and Janet (Emmerdale's Roxanne Pallett) who find themselves in the middle of nowhere, their car having broken down.
Finding a mansion where they hope to call for help, they soon find themselves at the mercy of the sinister and outrageous denizens of the place, led by the most scandalous of them all, the transvestite from Transylvania, Frank-N-Furter.
The first and most obvious thing about this 40th anniversary production of The Rocky Horror Show is just how beautiful the show looks. From its incredibly impressive set design, with rotating panels that indicate different rooms, to its wonderfully camp and raunchy costume design, the production looks like something from the West End.
The performances are all great too. Aside from the actors mentioned above, a very buff and spray-tanned Rhydian is suitably clueless as the titular Rocky, while Philip Franks (best known as Charlie from The Darling Buds of May) has enormous fun as the play's narrator, who felt at the mercy of the raucous crowd.
Perhaps The Rocky Horror Show's very nature makes some people disinclined to see it, but for those of us who can embrace its all-encompassing weirdness, you won't have a finer time than at the Bristol Hippodrome this week.