Review: Rocky Horror Show a cult classic not stuck in a time warp

The Rocky Horror Show runs at the Grand Opera House until Saturday.
The Rocky Horror Show runs at the Grand Opera House until Saturday.





RICHARD O'Brien's musical statement, The Rocky Horror Show, which opened in the 1970s, is more of an immersive experience, even if you don't don the Frank'n'Furter stockings, than simply a show.

There is a lot of audience participation and in a way, it's become something of a cult.

Mirroring the feather boas, suggestive costumes, upfront comments about sexual orientation and the general fun onstage, there are people in the audience who wear the saucy costumes. And might well attend more than once.

Mark Lamb, there with his mother who said she had left her husband at home, is a fan. He reveals that his girlfriend introduced him to the musical when he was in his teens and that it had saved him from "shyness and the sense of being alone".

He quotes Frank'n'Furter's number Don't Dream It, Be It, which kind of sums up the liberating, liberated ethos.

This touring show has quite a bit of pizazz. Our Narrator (Reece Budin, substituting for Philip Franks) is quick on his feet and needs to be. A lot of verbiage comes his way and he fielded it deftly. It's mostly X-rated, good natured fun and after all, the era it comes from was earthy yet idealistic.

Some of the comeback from seasoned fans is more or less scripted, some new, as with Mr Lamb's response to the reference to a chaotic, sinister house with one word: "Stormont". How we laughed.

As a narrative, Rocky Horror borrows from all over, without the fluidity of, say, Hair. An innocent couple abroad, Janet and Brad (nicely played by Ore Oduba and Haley Flaherty) end up on a dark and stormy night in Frank'n'Furter's pleasuredome with sinister overtones.

Stephen Webb's suspendered costume, energy and great legs as the not-always good doctor, won the day. His entourage was pretty persuasive too, including Kristian Lavercombe's sneering Riff Raff, and the whole was well directed by Christopher Luscombe.

As a Rocky Horror newbie, you honestly don't need to worry about the plot, just the inclusive philosophy which now references the Rocky world as transsexual, while enjoying the special effects and the superbly camp rock 'n' roll.

We all enjoyed the naughtiness. At the end, we all did the Time Warp - again - and a packed house had rather a good time.