Friday, December 3

The Rocky Horror Show – Hull New Theatre

“Mucky mouths” were much in evidence on Monday night, as the infamous Rocky Horror Show hit the Hull New Theatre stage, running.

Suspenders, stockings, glitter and general naughtiness were much in evidence. But that’s enough about the audience …

This legendary show – born in 1973 – comes to the city as part of a worldwide tour.

It tells the story of two innocent college students, Brad (Ore Oduba) and fiancée Janet (Haley Flaherty), whose car breaks down outside a creepy mansion – a mansion they enter to try to find a telephone on which to ring for help.

The creepy mansion is home to the even creepier Dr Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb).

Furter, strutting around in stockings and suspenders, has total control over his staff – two of whom turn out to be instrumental in his eventual downfall.

But the shenanigans leading up to that event is a mind-blowing riot of fun and frolics, enhanced by wonderful singing voices accompanied by rousing music played by musicians high up on the stage, almost hidden by view behind a huge film reel.

Narrated by Philip Franks (who was given a rousing reception by the knowledgeable audience), his quick-fire rapport with a very cheeky and vocal audience was, for me, a highlight.

As his story-telling progresses, it becomes obvious that the two aforementioned innocents won’t be staying that way for long. And the bed scenes where the lascivious Furter leads both of them astray are absolutely hilarious.

The energetic cast members, to a man, woman and “creation” (a certain Rocky Horror), are obviously having a ball. All singing voices were excellent, tuneful and loud – and the talented musicians did justice to such classics as Damn It Janet, Sweet Transvestite and, of courses Time-Warp.

Within a few minutes of the show’s start, many in the audience were up on their feet, dancing along. But maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for such a spectacle, as I found my mind wandering several times on the night and not able to join in with the general excitement all around me.

I couldn’t fault the colourful and well-lit stage design, the acting, music or the choreography and there were many laugh-out-loud moments. However, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t recognise any of the cast.

The programme tells me that Oduba as Brad, is a Strictly Come Dancing winner, but I’ve never seen one episode. The credits for Furter’s Webb cover a whole page, but he is unknown to me.

The only face I vaguely recognised in the programme was that of Franks as the narrator.

Duncan James, of Blue fame, played the lead role in the only other version of the show I’ve seen and his was a face I was familiar with.

However, the bulk of the audience were having a rip-roaring time, dancing, singing and shouting out rude comments.

The non-stop sight of muscular men in stockings, suspenders and sparkly bustiers might have worn thin for me, but that was obviously not the case of the majority, who gave a prolonged standing ovation at the end of the show.

Running until Saturday, November 27th, 2021, 7.30pm nightly, except Friday 26th and Saturday 27th, when performances are at 5.30pm and 8.30pm

Tickets from £15. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 22nd November 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★

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