For its 40th anniversary touring production, the team behind The Rocky Horror Show has pulled out all the stops.
Emphasising the "party" element of the cult production, even the Monday night crowd at the King's were in good form, with every risque heckle well fielded by Philip Franks (an expert Narrator).
Within this cast of fine performers, two were at the top of their game. Oliver Thornton as Frank-N-Furter brought a new menace to the role (where David Bedella had played more for laughs in the 2009 tour), as well as never-ending pins that have been toned to perfection during his West End turn as Adam/Felicia in the original cast of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. A young Riff Raff was the other revelation: Kristian Lavercombe played alongside Richard O'Brien himself in their native New Zealand, and his eerily powerful vocals created shivers throughout the well-known hit Time Warp.
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The staging was effective in its simplicity, with an obvious nod to the show's B-movie origins, and the live band (hidden behind a filmy gauze on a mezzanine level) added some new musical nuances to the oft-trod score, creating heightened levels of poignancy and reflection – quite a feat with what is, in fact, such a silly sci-fi storyline. As sheer escapism and rollicking good fun, this interpretation works on every level – as a homage, a parody and a bonkers good musical. Ben Forster and Roxanne Pallett as the All-American Brad and Janet are well cast, while former X Factor star Rhydian excels as cross-dressing creation Rocky.
Until March 2, then Playhouse, Edinburgh, March 11-16; returning to the King's Theatre, August 6-10