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"Truly mind-blowing genius - this is a must-see production 5/5"

Yorkshire Times (April 2013)

The Rocky Horror Show, Sheffield Lyceum
By Jeremy Williams, Arts Correspondent

Richard O'Brien - a sci-fi and horror movie fan from a young age - was an out of work actor seeking opportunity when he poured his heart and soul into a writing project to occupy his mind. 

While writing his wacky, out of this world comic musical that he was creating a masterpiece that would wow audiences at London's Royal Court Theatre when it opened in 1973. 

For 'The Rocky Horror Show' is unlike any musical that had been staged, or has been attempted in the shadow of its success. Centreing around the overtly innocent Brad and Janet's unfortunate arrival at the sexual fantasy fulfilling transvetite Dr Frank N. Furter's castle, 'The Rocky Horror Show' has consistently wowed audiences worldwide with its on the edge subject matter and undeniable comic superiority. 

With 40 years having passed since the production's first staging, a year-long celebration tour is currently making its way around the UK. Monday night marked the arrival of 'The Rocky Horror Show' in Sheffield, with the cult classic being met by an array of wonderfully costumed audience members excited for the most thrilling theatrical experience of their existence. 

Thankfully, from the moment Abigail Jaye, in her Usherette guise, pulled open the curtain with a rousing rendition of 'Science Fiction/Double Feature', the 40th Anniversary production did not fail to deliver on its promise. 

While Sam Attwater's Brad may have had a rather questionable accent, his naive presence and sensational vocal delivery ensured that his casting was more than justified. 

With leading lady Roxanne Pallett unavailable to perform, her understudy Rachel Grundy more than filled her Janet shaped boots. With an air of Olivia Newton-John, Grundy's 'Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-me' is filled with an overpowering virginal desire. A perfect melange of overbearing innocence and sexual desire, Grundy easily owned the role made famous by Susan Sarandon in the feature film - prompting the question as to why the role is not hers full-time.

Narrator Philip Franks proved himself more than capable to cope with the constant heckling from the lively Sheffield audience, with his quick one-liners further enticing the audience in to the magical realm that O'Brien skilfully created. 

While Harry Neale's 'Rocky' is suitably sexy and Joel Montague's Eddie oozes an air of nonchalant cool, Abigail Jaye's Magenta lacks bite when compared to the sassy, playfulness of Ceris Hine's Columbia.

However, it is the arrival of Oliver Thornton's Frank N. Furter that proves the evening's revelation. A truly captivating performer, Thornton really gets under the skin of the monstrous, yet extremely attractive transvestite and manages to flawlessly balance his predatory appeal.

While the charged rendition of 'Sweet Transvetite' gets the temperature soaring, Thornton's emotional 'I'm Going Home' proves that the real success of O'Brien's masterpiece is its ability to balance heart and humour.

Thornton and Grundy aside, Kristian Lavercombe's Riff Raff is the big revelation of the evening. Pitched perfectly, Lavercombe is O'Brien incarnate - with a haunting presence, ghoulish comedy and spine tingling vocal.

While O'Brien's sensational skill ensures that it is nigh on impossible to fully destroy the sensation that is 'The Rocky Horror Show', the 40th Anniversary production succeeds in re-producing the truly mind-blowing genius that set tongues wagging first time around. 

This is a must-see production!

 

The Rocky Horror Show, Sheffield Lyceum
Tue 16th Apr, 2013 | 11:03am