THEATRE REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show, 25/10/2010, Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

Venue: Alexandra Theatre
Date: 25/10/2010

There are very few instances where the majority of the theatre audience will be dressed in a basque, suspenders, stockings and a thong. There will be very few instances where an audience can heckle the cast and not be quietly shown the exit.

Both of those statements typify what Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Show” is all about. The cult status of the musical that challenges the perceptions of the audience is no laughing matter. Led by Olivier award-winning David Bedella as the charismatic and devilishly hilarious ‘Frank N. Furter’, the cast include Stuart Ellis as the instantly recognisable ‘Riff-Raff’, Julian Essex-Spurrier as ‘Rocky’ and Ainsley Harriott as the beloved ‘Narrator’.

The story in a nutshell is, young, innocent, and pure Brad and Janet breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Fate leads them to the house of Frank N.Furter. They quickly discover that their host – dressed in a basque, suspenders and heels – is not what he seems, unsurprisingly! What follows ridicules, enriches and delivers an experience which is completely random. Nothing is off-limits, and the audience contribute their little twists every now and again – and the cast are certainly kept on their toes with some of the non-standard audience responses catching them off guard (probably best we don’t repeat them here!).

The other stand-out performance is that of Ainsley Harriott, as our Narrator for the evening – loud, comical, and vibrant, he shows that he certainly not just a chef! Moments such as Harriott suggesting to one member of the audience that maybe he wasn’t reading the same narrator’s script as him, or at the point where he wondered “what had died” and a certain member of the audience said “your career”, we discovered that he had sown all of his “Ainsley Harriott” food range covers into the lining of his jacket and that he wasn’t afraid to use them! Those moments are what The Rocky Horror Show is all about! Moments of unadulterated laughter.

For something that was written in the 1970s, the Show is still thrilling, intriguing, and contemporary. Favoured numbers like the “Time Warp” are crowd pleasing, whilst Eddie’s “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul” ends with a quick chainsaw accident. Yes, the first half is better in terms of content but the second half has some of the funniest moments including the vertical bed – we won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it.

Would we recommend seeing The Rocky Horror Show? Hell yeah! Turn up with an open mind, leave with a happy soul!

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Constantinos Kypridemos


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