Thursday, 7 March 2019

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking



Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show” is undoubtedly the world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical, having catapulted into the hall of fame since its first appearance at The Royal Court Theatre in June 1973. It has been performed worldwide on every continent (yes, really) and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Needless to say, the show’s big-screen adaptation “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Richard O’Brien, is one of the most iconic movie-musicals of all time.

This production marks the new World Tour for this legendary piece with Dom Joly as The Narrator, Joanne Clifton as Janet Weiss and Ben Adams as Brad Majors. I was most excited to see Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff as he fast approaches his 1500th performance in the role. What a legend. 

In the velvet darkness…. Newly engaged sweethearts Brad and Janet are struck down with an unfortunate blown tyre and find themselves stranded alongside the home of Dr Frank-N-Furter; a “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania”. In a sequin filled dystopian paradise of sexuality and expression, the preened pair discover they may not be all they thought. With classic numbers such as “The Time Warp”, “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me” and “Hot Patootie”, this show will leave you dancing in the aisles and reaffirmed with a joy for life.

Stephen Webb offers us a new kind of Dr Frank-N-Furter far removed from Tim Curry’s oh-so-famous portrayal. Webb’s characterisation is more butch (somehow accomplished in knickers and suspenders – bravo, Sir!) and aggressive. Frank is so fantastical, nothing about him is all that humane but the fearsome streak he offers makes him somehow more real. Kristian Lavercombe’s Riff Raff is the perfect emulation of Richard O’Brien’s beloved portrayal with a stunning and powerful vocal range that rings clear. 

Joanne Clifton’s Janet is marvellous and alongside Ben Adams’ Brad they make a really wonderful pair with that classically nerdy chemistry. Dom Joly’s Narrator is superbly comical. He fully embraced the array of heckles from the audience which have become a fundamental part of the show’s success. If you have never seen the show live, I implore you to visit purely to immerse yourself in these fabulous lines – you won’t regret it! 

The sets are suitably grand and colourful with costumes really enhancing this sense of alienation for plain-clothed Brad and Janet. Lighting was consistently well used particularly for the Phantom presences during “There’s A Light” and Riff Raff’s first appearance. The Time Warp is a no expenses paid number which satisfies on every level and had audience members leaping up from their seats to join in. 

For fans of the film and previous productions of the show, you will not be disappointed. This show just gets better and better with time. Take a jump to the left, and then a step to the right and then run to your nearest theatre and get yourself some tickets! 

The Rocky Horror Show truly is a one-of-a-kind spectacle. 

Review by Harriet Langdown

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls E36 | Price of Ticket: £35 (Plus £2.50 booking fee)

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