Culture Writers Jaiden Griffin and Heidi Downing share their views on The Rocky Horror Show, truly impressed by its captivating and thrilling cast and set
Perspective One: Jaiden Griffin
Since my introduction to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I was enticed, instantly buying into its cult following. Therefore, watching the show live was essential, and the experience at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton can’t be understated. It was a dazzling performance, with wonderful characterisation improved only by cast interaction with one another, the audience, and the whimsical set design.
The brilliant combination of Stephen Webb’s sassy yet loyally camp portrayal of Frank N Furter and the Golden Receiver energy Ben Westhead’s injected into Rocky highlighted a fresh comedic energy to the show. These presentations tied the other characters together in such a glorious way, especially during anticipated musical numbers. Rocky’s playful, yet ingenious nature brought a whole new angle to my favourite number, ‘Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch me’, since it worked so well with Haley Flaherty’s more eccentric and inquisitive nature as Janet.
As with every show, the set design is central, but its simplicity here worked comedic wonders. The stuffed animal heads on the castle walls, for instance, were so simple, yet every time I clocked the long crocodile head jabbing out of the wall, I laughed to myself at the brilliant stupidity which makes Rocky Horror great. Anyone who sees the show will be sure to appreciate the hilarity of the massive vertical bed, taking centre stage in many scenes. Whereas the movie does not focus on it as much, the stage show ran with it, and for good reason.
It’s suggestive humour, particularly when Riff Raff (played by Kristian Lavercombe) joined Frank N Furter and Brad (played by Richard Meek) in bed, offered a breath of comedic fresh air, making the experience unique while remaining faithful to the film. Every member of the cast and production a stellar job, and I commend the director, Christopher Luscombe for bringing everything together in such a magnificent way, with special acknowledgment of sound designer Gareth Owen for leading such an alluring orchestra.
Rating – 5/5
Perspective Two: Heidi Downing
The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is currently being graced with the treat of celebrating the massive success of 50 years of the cult-classic musical, The Rocky Horror Show. This production is being directed by Christopher Luscombe and provides audiences with a guaranteed thriller of a party that is bound to make you “shiver with antici…pation”.
This musical has always had its own special energy about it and continues to win over many generations with catchy songs like ‘Time Warp’, memorable choreography, and dazzlingly sparkly costumes. Seeing it onstage is a real treat; an eagerness awaits the crowd of fans as they enter the theatre donned in fishnets and sequined paraphernalia, ready to watch the magic unlock before them.
One of the highlights of watching The Rocky Horror Show live is seeing the electric explosion of energy in the culmination of Act 2, ‘Rose Tint My World’. This song is the longest in the entire show, spanning close to eight minutes, with every second onstage being dazzlingly gripping from an audience perspective with a stunning range of impressive choreography leaving you wanting more. Sue Blane’s costume design delightfully replicated the iconic looks of the original characters, and appreciation for such was only shown by the audience members appearing in similar attire to highlight their appreciation and dedication for this show.
The most standout performer for me was Darcy Finden playing Columbia. There was a beautiful range to this character and Finden managed to juggle serious moments of heartbreak and disappointment towards Frank N Furter with larger than-life comedy and dramatic characterisations that had the audience in tears.
Hugh Durrant’s set design for this show is equally as electric as every performer onstage. Transitions between the iconic locations such as the rotation of flats between Frank N Furter’s atrium to the lab moved seamlessly with excitement and flare. Overall, Luscombe’s The Rocky Horror Show is a must-see theatrical delight for reason. After impressing audiences for the past 50 years, you can really see why the crowd keeps coming back for more.
Rating – 5/5
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