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Liverpool Echo (Feb 2013)

Review: The Rocky Horror Show, Liverpool Empire

by Jade Wright, Liverpool Echo
Feb 12 2013

IT may be 40 years old this year, but the Rocky Horror Show is still going strong.

What else would encourage respectable members of the public out onto Lime Street in stockings and suspenders on a cold February night?

Richard O'Brien’s tongue in cheek tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s is a familiar story – geeky Brad and his squeaky clean fiancĂ©e Janet, two college kids meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house while on their way to visit their former college professor.

There they encounter scientific creations in a night of fun, frolics and frivolity.

The casting was excellent – Superstar winner Ben Forster was nerdily perfect as Brad, Roxanne Pallett portrayed Janet’s meet and wild sides well, while X-factor’s Rhydian was something of a revelation as Rocky.

Kristian Lavercombe aped the show’s creator as Riff Raff – the original champion of wet look leggings and long blonde hair. He’d easily have blended into the crowd if he’d wandered into Concert Square on his way home.

Philip Franks has stepped out from Countdown’s Dictionary Corner and proved himself an excellent Narrator – even chucking in a joke about 50 Shades of Gray.

But it was Oliver Thornton stole the show as the magnificent sweet transvestite Frank’n’Furter.

Strutting across the stage in impressively high heels and laddered fishnet stockings, he brought out the role’s dark humour beautifully. He’d clearly studied Tim Currie’s definitive film portrayal, and why not?

This isn’t a show about originality. The audience want to see and hear what they’ve all enjoyed so many times before.

Forty years on, the jokes are the same, the songs are the same – even the ad libs are the same. It has become predictable in its spontaneity.

But there’s still a place for its risque blend of science-fiction, horror, comedy and music.

Of course, the story is thinner than Riff Raff’s hair, but then it always was. It’s a pastiche of all those bad American films, with some naughty humour mixed in.

With an impressive set, an excellent live band and a strong cast, this production offered fans exactly what they wanted to see – a faithful reproduction of a well loved original, with a few new bits chucked in and a lot of men in women’s underwear – and that was just the audience.

8/10 Naughty but nice