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Review: The Rocky Horror Show

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by Christopher Luscombe has been touring for fifteen years and it radiates the flawlessness one would expect from a run of that length. The magic of the Rocky Horror Show has always been that it relishes in itself; the nonsensical plot dancing on the edge of what polite society considers ‘softcore’. Every audience member would concur that the narrator is an undeniable highlight. Phillip Franks, aptly named due to his unexpectedly cutting and frank political satire, caught the audience off guard as he broke into a tune: “Oh the Grand Old Duke of York, He has twelve million pounds, He gave it all to an American girl for something he never did.” 

Another unexpected highlight is the song ‘Eddie’ which the incomprehensibly talented cast turns into an euphoric singalong on par with ‘Time Warp’ or ‘Sweet Transvestite’. All three were ecstatic in both performance and reception. Which brings me to the expected stars of the evening. As the carriage follows the horse, so must Dr Frank N Furter follow ‘Time Warp’ with ‘Sweet Transvestite’. Hundreds of people clap in unison awaiting his entrance and they want only one thing in the world—the doors to open on a perfect hair-do perched on top of a cape and the smirking Transylvanian sex God inside to make them give in to absolute pleasure. Stephen Webb’s killer voice is made to gag and drool over the freshly made Rocky, and his killer thighs are made to sadistically strut around the stage in stilettos with a chainsaw. Suzie McAdam is enchanting as the usherette and exemplary as Magenta. Kristian Lavercombe was a model Riff Raff, slithering and slinking around the stage—and the giddy audience delighted in him every time he did.

The double-edged sword which is presented by any performance of the Rocky Horror Show is this: how does the ensemble satisfy the demands of those who know every word and refuse not to sing along, while simultaneously giving them something to remember this particular performance for? How do you surprise and content an audience that worships every second of the material? Somehow the Rocky Horror Show at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh in 2022, almost 50 years since its first performance on June 19th 1973 in London, succeeded in achieving that balance, and the late night science fiction picture show rocked peoples worlds once more.

Rocky Horror Show runs at The King’s Theatre from 21st to 26th February 2022 at 19.30 pm.

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Image Courtesy of The Rocky Horror Show Production via Capital Theatres.

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