Thrusting its pelvis between tongue-in-cheek horror and kitsch camp comedy, this flawless production Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show returns to Edinburgh for one last Time Warp before the ongoing tour hangs up its stilettos at the end of the year.
Continuing on the excellent form laid down since the production began in 2006, Christopher Luscombe's charismatic cast have refined their roles, finding fresh nuances in a script nearly forty years and gently tipping their glittering gold top-hats in tribute to the Sweet Transvestites of stage and screen who have gone before them.
It's the classic American love story: boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; boy and girl set off to celebrate their engagement, their car tyre explodes and they are forced to take shelter in the arms of a decadent Transylvanian master.
Add to the mix that their host is creating life with human body parts and leopard skin hot-pants and theatre is borne a Frankenstein romance which would make Mary Shelley spin.
David Bedella's strutting Frank N. Furter is consistently excellent and commanding. In the sorry history of star turns, only Bedella has earned his place as a true rival to Tim Curry's original, vocally oozing with a rich, American sex appeal whilst finding an often overlooked vulnerability in the role.
Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty's Brad and Janet relish the journey between cutesy and corrupted, showing a genuine transition in the conscience of characters often treated as having a sexual on/off switch under their chastity belts. As forbidden fruit to the young sweethearts, Dominic Tribuzio's acrobatic Rocky Horror is a joy, to man and woman, initially approaching the role with a charming, babyish simplicity before unleashing a confident swagger in the Floor Show finale.
A newcomer to the role of omniscient narrator, Gerard Kelly is in fine pantomimic form, quickly batting off the audience callbacks with wit and breaking down the fourth wall of theatre without losing control of the rowdy crowd.
Janet Bird's witty set design is an acutely observed homage to the low-budget b-movies of the era, subtle in its content but inventive in its execution, cleverly using the low-fi technologies of early cinema in shadow play and tricks of perspective.
This production is a triumphant return to its roots. With nostalgic
costume designs by film designer Sue Blane, it strikes at the heart
of the film which has been playing midnight shows in theatres for
nearly forty years, filtering it through a comic prism of colour and
yet somehow creating, as easily as Frank did, an entirely new Monster.
- Scott Purvis