Friday, February 23

The Rocky Horror Show – Edinburgh King’s Theatre

Sexy, Camp and a real cult classic. Rocky horror has been entertaining us musical weirdos since 1973 and to this day has yet to lose its charm and fun. Before the show even begins, you’ll find yourself surrounded by its fans decked out in suspenders, corsets, feather bowers and tinier shorts than you could have mentally prepared yourself for.

Rocky Horror is a sci-fi rock musical all about giving into your own sexual desires and discovering one’s self, but with aliens! These are not the green little Martians we televise but a group of human looking aliens from the distant planet of Transexual Transylvania. They are sexy, strange and at times dangerous.  When newly engaged and conservative couple Brad (Ore Oduba) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) turn up at their door, all hell breaks loose: a genetically engineered man is made, relationships are tested and all are invited to take part in the host of the house’s “floor show”.

Stephen Webb steps into the beloved role of Frank N Furter tremendously, with a rich deep voice and a figure that would make most jealous. He has such an unfaltering confidence about him which carries the role seamlessly and his rendition of “Sweet Transvestite” is nothing short of iconic. It can be so very difficult to step into a role played by someone so successful such as Tim Curry but Webb brings a completely new vision of the character whilst keeping in those same features and mannerisms that Frank N Furter is recognized and loved for. 

Our leading couple Oduba and Flaherty have brilliant on-stage chemistry together. Flaherty has very clearly played the role of Janet before, with perfect comedic timing and vocals to die for. Oduba plays a cute and geeky Brad which works so well for him as past portrayals of the same role have made the character unlikable and yet Oduba is impossible not to like.

Our real comedy genius of the show title however falls to Narrator, Philip Franks. The line between prescript-ed and improvisation blurs with Franks, who delivers each of the narrator’s lines with a freshness that suggests he has never said them before, making them each very amusing.

This whole cast is stellar and not a single vocal fell flat, especially not from Lavercombe (Riff Raff), Ingram (Columbia), or Mcadam (Usherette/ Magenta) who all tackled some pretty difficult vocals with ease.

The staging and set is also very fun with the main two scenes being switched using spinning walls. The band is placed above the main stage as a nice change and can be seen at all times through a large video camera reel. Other than parts of the main castle the rest of the set is very 2 dimensional which delivers pantomime energy and is just very fun.

To anyone who hasn’t already seen the movie or the show itself, the whole thing can be a little overwhelming so it would be heavily recommended to do your research before watching (failure to do so may result in you feeling like you are on acid). It is brilliantly funny, self-aware and sexy. One could even compare it to an adult pantomime of sorts with the audience having their own secret script in which many members of the audience, along with a paid heckler, yell out throughout. Some even bring props. You will never find an audience quite like a Rocky Horror audience so for maximum pleasure take a look at what you are getting yourself into first, maybe even pop on a costume yourself.

One main nit pic of the show is that the music itself doesn’t always lyrically make sense in its context however this doesn’t come from the cast, nor does it come under any fault of the company. It’s a very strange touch, for example “Whatever Happened to Saturday Night” is a bop but it doesn’t fit the plot.

Overall, this is a must see if you are old enough (14 plus only). Its audience atmosphere along changes Rocky Horror from being just another musical to being a full-on festive event that you don’t want to miss. Go get those fish nets and let‘s do the time warp again!

The Rocky Horror Show continues until Saturday 26th February,

Reviewer: Beth Eltringham

Reviewed: 21st February 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★