Rocky Horror Show

March 12, 2013 | By More

★★★☆☆      Warp Factor 40

Edinburgh Playhouse: Mon 11 – Sat 16 March 2013
Review by Martin Gray

Celebrating 40 years of sweet transvestites from transsexual Transylvania, the Rocky Horror Show rolls back into town.

And along with it, dozens of fanboys and girls dressed up as the characters – here a Frank-N-Furter, there a Columbia, everywhere a Riff-Raff. But nary a Brad nor a Janet to be seen.

Rocky Horror Show 2013 tour. Oliver Thornton as Frank'n'Furter with cast. Production photography: Manuel Harlan

Rocky Horror Show 2013 tour. Oliver Thornton as Frank’n’Furter with cast. Production photography: Manuel Harlan

No-one wants to be the square kids, it seems. The ones who get caught up in night of naughtiness after breaking down on a dark road and spotting a castle with signs of life. Frank and his pervy pals have much more appeal for the students who form the show’s most cultish of cult audiences.

A tribute cum spoof of the cheesy old monster movies that turn up on TV, Richard O’Brien’s musical has a couple of well-known songs, Sweet Transvestite and Time Warp, the latter of which comes with a dance that has the more devoted fans going wild. A couple of other songs are good – Over at the Frankenstein Place is a hummable bubblegum pop piece, while Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul is the rocky number that helped make Meat Loaf’s name. Apart from these, the tunes aren’t especially memorable.

The characters are though, and Oliver Thornton makes a fine fist of Frank, the mad scientist cum drag queen at the centre of the action. He exudes dark charisma, has a soaring singing voice and legs to die for (he likely stole them from a victim). TV talent show find Rhydian Roberts is a suitably buff and blond Rocky, Frank’s greatest creation, and while he moves well and has a heck of a voice, it was difficult at times to make out what he was singing.

Impressive pipes

It wasn’t just Rhydian, though – the first act of this show was hurt by the band drowning out the actors, none of whom lack the talent to sell a song. Sound levels improved in the second half, happily. That’s when Roxanne Pallett as Janet and Sam Attwater as Brad really got to show off their impressive pipes. The pair also showed good comic chops in a scene which sees them seduced, in turn, by the omnisexual Frank.

Tender is the night... Oliver Thornton as Frank'n'Furter with Sam Attwater as Brad. Production photography: Manuel Harlan

Tender is the night… Oliver Thornton as Frank’n’Furter with Sam Attwater as Brad. Production photography: Manuel Harlan

The biggest laughs, though, came from Philip Franks as the Narrator, who gets the bulk of the traditional heckling from Rocky regulars and returns the volleys with aplomb in his wonderfully fruity tones. Also great value are Kristian Lavercombe as falsetto fiend Riff-Raff, Abigail Jaye as Magenta and Ceris Hine as lovelorn Columbia.

There isn’t a weak performance in the piece. Where this show goes askew is the pace – never mind time warp, it rattles along at warp speed, with the first act coming in at 45 minutes and the second at around 50. There’s never time to sit back and bask in the fun, with the second half, particularly, feeling more like a concert performance than a play.

But fair’s fair, the regulars at this sold-out performance were having  a whale of a time, with devotees ranging in age from teens to sixties. With such a wide fan base, I’d not be surprised to see the Rocky Horror Show last another four decades.

Running time 2 hours
Run ends Saturday
Full details and tickets from the Edinburgh Playhouse website

The Rocky Horror Show on Tour

11 – 16 March 2013 Edinburgh
Playhouse
0844 871 3014 – Book online
18 – 23 March 2013 Grimsby
Auditorium
0844 871 3016 – Book online
25 – 30 March 2013 Manchester
Opera House
0844 871 3018 – Book online
8 – 13 April 2013 York
Grand Opera House
0844 871 3024 Book online
15 – 20 April 2013 Sheffield
Lyceum
0114 249 6000 Book online
22 – 27 April 2013 Southend
Cliffs Pavilion
01702 351135 Book online
29 April to 4 May 2013 Cambridge
Corn Exchange
01223 357851 Book online
6 – 11 May 2013 Richmond
Theatre
0844 871 7651 – Book online
13-18 May 2013 Southampton
The Mayflower
02380 711811 Book online
20 – 25 May 2013 Stoke-on-Trent
Regent Theatre
0844 871 7649 – Book online
27 May – 1 June 2013 Bromley
Churchill
0844 871 7620 Book online
3 – 8 June Norwich
Theatre Royal
01603 63 00 00 Book online
10 – 15 June 2013 Leeds
Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700 Book online
24 – 29 June 2013 Woking
New Victoria
0844 871 7645 – Book online
15 – 20 July 2013 Milton Keynes
Theatre
0844 871 7652 Book online
8 – 13 July 2013 Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889 Book online
5 – 10 August 2013 Glasgow
King’s Theatre
0844 871 7648 Book online
12 – 17 August 2013 Canterbury
The Marlowe Theatre
01227 787787 Book online
19 – 24 August 2013 Vristol
Hippodrome
0844 871 3012 Book online
26 – 31 August 2013 Oxford
New Theatre
0844 871 3020 Book online
16 – 21 September 2013 Bradford
Alhambra
01274 432 000 Book online
23 – 28 September 2013 Nottingham
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555 Book online
30 September – 5 October 2013 Hull
New Theatre
01482 300 300 Book online
14 – 19 October 2013 Bournemouth
Pavilion Theatre
0844 576 3000 Book online

ENDS

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