The Rocky Horror Show at the Victoria Palace
(Please note: the current touring production of the Rocky Horror Show features a different cast to that reviewed here.)
First produced in 1973 for the tiny Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, the touring production of the cult musical Rocky Horror Show that's just reached London is bigger, louder, and raunchier than the original. It remains to be seen whether its strong adult content will find as wide an audience as other Victoria Palace musical stalwarts like Annie and Barnum!. But anyone interested in musical theatre should make their way there before 6 June to experience this original influential and energetically-performed piece of work.
The story is a high-camp concoction of references to horror movies, rock and roll music, mad scientists, dance crazes and 1950s America. An innocent young couple, nerdy Brad (Stuart de la Mere) and pert Janet (Simona Morecroft) are driving back from a wedding when their car breaks down. Seeking assistance, the virginal pair get more than they bargained for when they call for assistance at a nearby Gothic mansion. Not surprising, when the house turns out to be home to a group of humanoid aliens from the planet Transexual in the galaxy Transylvania.
The couple's blow out leads to blow jobs in Act II as they finish up being deflowered in turn by the bisexual cross-dressed alien leader, Dr Frank N. Furter. Played by former Neighbours soap star Jason Donovan, it's surely the furthest he could get from his previous West End top-of-the-bill appearance in the title role of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
To say Rocky is a noisy, sexy night out would only be to describe the exhibitionist and vocal behaviour of that portion of the audience who've dressed, cross-dressed, and undressed in the fishnet, be-stockinged style of their favourite characters. There's even a web site with advice for would-be audience members.
The show itself is well-played and energetic, with some memorable rock pastiche numbers and a dance - “Do the Time Warp” - but there's some explicit (and funny) simulations of straight and gay sex that won't be to everyone's taste - especially the comic business with the used condom. Your granny's also likely to cringe, too, at the often hilarious but sometimes foulmouthed banter between performers and audience.
However, for broad-minded grown-ups that have never experienced The Rocky Horror Show, this silver anniversary edition is as good as it gets.