BWW Review: ROCKY HORROR SHOW, Theatre Royal Brighton
Richard O'Brien's cult rock and roll musical Rocky Horror Show launches its 2019 World Tour with a festive stint at Brighton's Theatre Royal.
The sci-fi/horror parody opened at the upstairs Royal Court Theatre in London in 1974 and has since been performed around the world.
They find themselves in the lair and lab of Transylvanian Transvestite, Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb), accompanied by his adoring entourage.
Attendees of the show vary from the uninitiated in casual dress to those in full character costume. Everyone is welcome and the pre-show excitement is palpable. The show jolts to life with the band led by MD George Carter, delivering the high-octane soundtrack packed full of power chords.
Laura Harrison as the Usherette unabashedly belts the opening number, "Science Fiction/Double Feature" to whooping applause as she welcomes us to the show. She also delights the audience as Magenta leading the immensely energetic "Time Warp".
Adams and Clifton are again suitably cast opposite each other after appearing in the recent UK tour of Flashdance together, this time as naïve lovebirds. Adams' boyband vocal suits Brad's clean-cut character and Clifton delivers an engaging and wide-eyed performance as Janet.
Webb commands the stage - and his castmates - as Frank N Furter, garnering huge cheers of encouragement from the crowd as he struts around in fishnets. The cheeky bedroom sequence at the top of the second act is hilariously portrayed by Webb, Adams and Clifton.
Dom Joly makes his theatrical debut in Rocky as the narrator, charismatically steering us through the chaotic and silly tale. He responds to shoutouts from the audience with quick wit.
Callum Evans shows off his muscular physique and acrobatic skills as Frank N Furter's Frankenstein-esque creation, Rocky. Between somersaults and press-ups he also displays a strong vocal in "The Sword of Damocles" as he adjusts to his new surroundings.
Christopher Luscombe's direction ensures gaps are left for the audience to participate in the well-rehearsed, and sometimes spontaneous, shoutouts in the show.
Hugh Durrant's set clearly depicts the necessary lab and castle scenes but the scenery generally is modest in quality - for example, the flat pack nature of Brad and Janet's car.
The colourful lighting design of Nick Richings ensures bright hues blast from every inch of the stage, and effective trickery suggests lightning bolts and laser beams.
Sue Blane, who was the costume designer for the original Rocky stage show and 1975 film, ensures the stage is full of glittering corsets and eye-catching lingerie, contrasting with Brad and Janet's vintage formal wear.
Choreography by Nathan M Wright matches the high-energy score and the cast appear to be having a ball delivering the catchy numbers. Everyone is on their feet joining in with a finale reprise of "Time Warp".
This new production of Rocky Horror Show is an indulgently silly evening of theatre. Whether you're well versed in the participatory element of the show's following, or completely new to the experience that is attending a showing of Rocky, you're sure to have a blast.
Rocky Horror at Theatre Royal Brighton until 5 January, 2019, then continues on tour
Photo credit: Rocky Horror Show