Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul! It’s The Rocky Horror Show.

The lights went down, the spotlight hit the stage, the opening pulse of Science Fiction/Double Feature rang out and the audience went wild! I was in my element!

In the middle of a media bru-ha-ha about audience behaviour in theatres, Rocky Horror is a blast of fresh air. The audience involvement is as critical to the performance as are the cast, and in this case, it is welcomed.  I did the Time Warp, sang myself hoarse, whooped, whistled and cheered, it was awesome.

Richard O’Briens Rocky Horror Show is touring the UK this year, celebrating a 50-year anniversary of camp, crazy cavorting and I was at the opening night of the run at The Grand Theatre, Leeds. 

Now, I’m probably not the best person to be objective about Rocky Horror, as I’m such a huge fan, but this is a wonderful performance. 

We join our young innocents Brad and Janet (Richard Meek & Haley Flaherty) on their ill-advised visit to the foreboding house and the time-travelling, alien inhabitants,

Although there are many key characters in this stage play, I feel that the narrator, (Reece Budin), is critical to audience enjoyment. When you get a great narrator, the performance takes on a whole new level. Budin is the perfect measure of camp, irritated professional who is reluctantly dealing with an unruly mob. He effortlessly burns the heckles and expletives from the watching audience. He absolutely nails it.

Shout out to Colombia (Stephania du Toit) who high-kicks, rolls, crawls, and squawks her way through a drawn-out death scene with All. The. Drama.

Of course, Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb) steals the show as our favourite ‘Sweet Transvestite’ from transexual Transylvania – we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

He struts around the stage in stockings, suspenders and sky-high-heels and he is as fabulous as it gets.

Seriously though, how can a man have such great legs in stilettos? Not fair!

Frank N Furter stalks through his mind-bending world of science experiments, seduction, and sexual awakening like the beautiful cat that got the cream, before showing us his vulnerable side when he meets with disaster.

There is a ‘Wild and Unchained’ energy to this performance that I recognise from shows in the 80’s and 90’s.  The whole cast keep up the chaotic pace and clearly love being in the show, their glee is obvious. I get the feeling that it’s all or nothing if you’re in a Rocky Horror company!

This cultural phenomenon has been capturing our hearts since 1973 and it’s as fresh and filthy now as it was back then.  The catchy show tunes, outrageous characters, and unconventional storyline have made The Rocky Horror Show a cult classic. Everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.

There are still some tickets available for this weekend’s performances.

Reviewed and written by Sally Bendall – @girlaboutleeds

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