Theatre Review – Rocky Horror Show – Mayflower


I’m always equally excited and worried when this show comes around.

Excited because it is one of my all-time favourite shows and worried because with such an iconic show and well-loved characters any bad casting can really ruin it. And it has done for me in the past.

For those who have no idea of what this odd show is all about I will try and explain it. Although if I’m honest even after watching it multiple times I’m not entirely sure I have it correct but I’ll give it a go!

It follows newly engaged couple Brad and Janet (played in this production by A1’s Ben Adams and Strictly Star Joanne Clifton), as they set off to find Dr Scott a loved teacher whose class, they met in. Their car breaks down a few miles from a castle/mansion and they decide to try and use the telephone there to call for help.

They are very quickly welcomed and find that the lord of the manor – a transvestite called Frank – is holding a bit of a bash to welcome his new invention. A man that he’s built. Much like Frankenstein did. The quirky inhabitants of the house are not all that they seem. Brad and Janet end up stuck and get involved in all manner of strange and lewd things.

It sounds odd. It is odd. But it’s gloriously odd.

But it’s also camp, incredibly outrageous and above all lots of fun.

But was it good?

Yes. It was awesome. It’s actually quite possibly the best production of this show that I’ve seen.

One of the biggest stars of this show is the audience. A large proportion of whom will dress up as characters – it’s the only place where its common to see a man in a thong, suspenders and heels on a Monday evening – and there is a lot of audience participation and heckling. Not in a bad way it’s encouraged and very much part of the show.

Ben Adams was great as Brad. I already knew he’d be great with the vocals he has one of the most phenomenal live voices I’ve heard but I missed him in Flashdance so I wasn’t sure if his acting skills would as good as his singing ones. He was amazing. Pitch Perfect as expected but who knew he had such great comic timing.

Joanne Clifton was the perfect Janet. I knew she could dance well but I had no idea she was such an amazing singer. I loved her version of Touch-A-Touch-A.

Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly was our narrator, as a comedian he coped well with some of the heckles, played off some of them and really made us laugh.

Kristian Lavercombe has notched up over 1400 performances as Riff Raff in this show and was the best thing about the last production, so I was really happy to see him back in the role. I genuinely can’t imagine anyone – except maybe Richard O’Brien – doing a better job.

But the star of the show was Duncan James.

Frank-N-Furter is such an iconic and well-loved character. He’s central to the story and with him being such a flamboyant and large character I’ll be perfectly honest I wasn’t entirely sure that Duncan was the man for the job. As amazing as he is, I didn’t think this was the role for him.

When you hear the first few notes of ‘Sweet Transvestite’ and see Franks reveal this is the turning point of the show. The make or break if you will. The character needs that perfect mix of having a bit of individuality without straying TOO far from the Tim Curry persona we all know and love. This isn’t a role that can be completely changed from production to production.

I actually held my breath as it started, I was that nervous!

Duncan absolutely smashed it. It was a perfect performance.

His chemistry with Joanne and Ben was captivating to watch and the famous scenes when they’re in bed made me laugh so much. He was cheeky and funny and gloriously camp. Not to mention beautiful!

But it was his heartfelt performance of ‘I’m Going Home’ that made the show for me. It sent chills down me and goes down as one of the best vocal performances I’ve seen. I knew he could sing but had no idea he could sing like that.

Out of the many times I’ve seen this show, this performance and this cast are the best I’ve seen.

Its most definitely not for the faint hearted and there is a lot of sexual innuendo so its not a kids show but I promise it will be one of the best nights out you’ve ever had. It’s an amazing – but odd – story, great visuals and lots and lots of stockings.


Jodie Brough – Follow me on twitter @jodievoicefm

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