CREAGH/CARR Review: Rocky Horror Show, MK Theatre
You get two for the price of one with the celebrated CCR '“ the opinions of seasoned hackette Bev Creagh and flamboyant newshound Stewart Carr.
Here they share their views on The Rocky Horror Show, playing at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday July 30.
CREAGH SAYS ... My big regret is not dressing up for the occasion – there were more rocky horror frocks among the audience than there were on stage.
There were loads of French maids with Goth make-up, chaps in black basques, boas and beards – one almost crippled in vertiginous heels and thigh-high boots – as well as several preppy Janet and Brad couples.
The time warp was in full swing even before the red velvet curtain was raised.
Everyone was having a whale of time, interactive theatre at its best. Hats off to narrator Norman Pace who not only handled all the cat calls and interjections with aplomb, but batted some back with humorous asides about the referendum and other contemporary issues.
I’d forgotten what a brilliantly bawdy and completely over-the-top burlesque show this is. Lots of very naughty choreography, suggestive lip licking and pelvic thrusting, and a story that’s part rom com, part science fiction and part B horror movie.
Brad and Janet’s car breaks down in a torrential storm and they seek refuge in a Transylvanian-style castle, home to mad transvestite scientist Frank-N-Furter who is about to unleash his creation Rocky.
Frank seduces Brad and Janet - separately - on an upright double bed on stage in one of the funniest sequences of the show and convinces them that sex is not something to be ashamed of.
It’s very Kenny Everett - all in the best possible taste - and impossible to take offence at.
Richard Meek as Brad is terrific as the dull boyfriend, especially when he’s stripped of his clothes and down to his vest and Y-fronts. He also has a quite stunning voice but Diana Vickers as Janet sounds a little shrill on some of her scene-stopping numbers.
Liam Tamne steals the show as Frank-N-Furter. He’s deliciously bi-sexual, lascivious, libidinous and lewd and struts his stuff with astonishing energy.
I also loved Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff - a part originally played by Rocky writer Richard O’Brien - but felt Kay Murphy as his sister Magenta should have been a little more voluptuous and not quite so shrewish.
Sophie Linder-Lee as Columbia is a pint-sized powerhouse who twinkles and twerks from beginning to end.
Last but not least, the phenomenal band who filled the auditorium with their powerful beat and who had everyone up doing the Time Warp up and down the aisles.
Awesome! CARR SAYS ... An overly polished and glitzy treatment somehow takes the sheen off this production of the Rocky Horror Show.
But for bombastic action, soaring vocals and filthy audience participation – this is still a fun show that hits you like a tonne of bricks.
I admit to being a huge fan of Richard O’Brien’s musical in all of it’s freaky oversexed glory. So, it was without hesitation I came galloping off to theatre, expecting nothing less than to be enthralled seeing it live.
And you can’t deny everything about it is big and excessive. The sets, costumes and dancing all faithfully adhere to the original.
But an over-reliance on graduates from musical talent shows takes the bite off the comedy.
The Voice star Liam Tamne takes on Tim Burton’s mantle at cross-dressing maniac Dr Frankenfurter. What Tamne makes up for in confidence and powerhouse vocals, he loses in flunking out the one-liners that made Burton so unforgettable in the role.
The X-Factor’s Diana Vickers plays a very shrill Janet Weiss. Pretty and a dead-ringer for Oliva Newton John, she adheres a bit too much to the musical tradition of high-pitched nasal belting – all with a slightly hammy American accent.
But the rest of the cast were on form. Kristian Lavercombe was my favourite as Riff-Raff, Richard Meek was a perfectly conservative Brad and Kay Murphy was easily recognisable as the mad Magenta.
Fun-filled and rambunctious, it will certainly get you on your feet.
The Rocky Horror Show plays until Saturday, July 30. See here for tickets.