BWW Reviews: SHOCK TREATMENT, King's Head Theatre, April 21 2015

BWW Reviews: SHOCK TREATMENT, King's Head Theatre, April 21 2015

I haven't approached a show with such a mix of trepidation and excitement for a very long while. For the uninitiated, Shock Treatment is the filmic "equal" to The Rocky Horror [Picture] Show - but rather than battling transvestite aliens, Brad and Janet are caught up in a reality media nightmare as the cracks in their marriage are exposed live on the local television channel.

The original film is often referred to as a "cult within a cult" - Shocky is just not as popular or as fun as Rocky. But this first stage adaptation goes some way towards helping it out, by making it smaller, focusing on the key characters, and not asking anyone to play dual roles (poor Cliff DeYoung).

Julie Atherton as Janet is, of course, impressive in both her comedy and her vocals. She leads what seems to be a relatively young cast - Mateo Oxley is stand-out in the camp and showy role of Ralph Hapschatt, while Rosanna Hyland is terrific as his raging ex-wife Betty. Adam Rhys-Davies and Nic Lamont are sinister and funny as the creepy brother/sister doctor duo Cosmo and Nation McKinley, while Ben Kerr sings well in what's effectively a cameo role as Brad.

My not-so-secret favourite was Mark Little as the omnipresent Farley Flavors - the man can't sing at all, but his sheer charisma and presence is absolutely perfect, and how sneakily wonderful to cast an Aussie as the manipulative megalomaniac media mogul...

The only real problem was the sound levels during the musical numbers. The electronic drums in particular drowned out the vocals - and that was a particular problem for me as I sought to interpret Flavors' motivation and antipathy to Brad. If you're not familiar with the songs or the story (or even if you are, as I am!), you might find yourself baffled at some points.

This is a good adaptation of the film - and a fun evening out. Feel free to dig out your fancy dress and pop to Denton in the next few weeks...but be warned, you'll have film obsessives sitting behind you and singing along...

Shock Treatment runs at the King's Head Theatre.

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From This Author Carrie Dunn

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