RICHARD O' BRIEN'S ROCKY HORROR SHOW IS BACK AT THE GOH
The much loved Rock n Roll musical arrived in Belfast yesterday, we popped along to The Grand Opera House and boy did we have a great time.
This cult classic has been entertaining audiences for 50 years from its humble beginnings back in 1974 in London's Royal Court Theatre. The show has spawned a successful Movie in 1975 with Iconic cast such as Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Meatloaf, a TV movie in 2016 which seen Tim Curry as the Narrator and other household names such as Laverne Cox as Frank and Adam Lambert as Eddie and sell out tours all over the world.
The story follows newly engaged couple Brad (Richard Meek) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) as they stumble across an old castle after their car breaks down. They find themselves in the lair and lab of Transylvanian Transvestite, Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb), accompanied by his adoring entourage.
Attendees of the show vary from the uninitiated in casual dress to those in full character costume and boy it is great to see people really let their inhibitions go.
Everyone is welcome and the pre-show excitement was palpable. The show jolts to life with the band led by MD Charlie Ingles, delivering the high-octane soundtrack packed full of power chords.
Suzie McAdam as the Usherette belts the opening number, "Science Fiction/Double Feature" to whooping applause as she welcomes us to the show. She also delights the audience as Magenta leading the immensely energetic "Time Warp".
Meek and Flaherty are suitably cast opposite each other as naive lovebirds. Meek in my opinion is a much better fit to the role than Ore Oduba, he has a string of stage credits to his name and his approach to the role was a delight. Flaherty I have seen as Janet many times, she delivers an engaging and wide-eyed performance, the perfect Janet in my opinion and I cannot fault their performances or chemistry.
Webb commands the stage as Frank N Furter, garnering huge cheers of encouragement from the crowd as he struts around in fishnets. The cheeky bedroom sequence at the top of the second act is hilariously portrayed by Webb, Meek and Flaherty. Webb gives Tim Curry vibes with his own twist, I admire the confidence he exudes and his talent is off the charts.
Joe McFadden was billed to play the Narrator, to my disappointment it was his day off, I was told he was watching in the audience, I was very much looking forward to seeing his interpretation of the Narrator - I may have to return later in the week. We were however in the capable hands of Reece Budin, he did not disappoint, he charismatically steered us through the chaotic and silly tale. He responds to shoutouts from the audience with quick wit. His comments on Arlene Foster and other current affairs had us all in a wrinkle lol
Ben Westhead had probably 99% of the audience drooling in envy as he showed off his muscular physique as Frank N Furter's Frankenstein-esque creation, Rocky. Between poses and press-ups he delivered a strong vocal in "The Sword of Damocles" as he adjusted to his new surroundings. He played the role perfectly with a childlike charm. It was quite endearing.
Joe Allen doubled us as Eddie and Dr Scott, it takes a versatile performer to portray such different characters I'd say the majority of the audience probably were not aware it was the same actor - bravo, his comic timing and accent worked wonderfully.
Completing the cast was Kristian Lavercombe and Darcy Finden, Kristian is breaking records with almost 2500 performances of Riff Raff under his belt, his voice is just insane I'm always in awe of him and finally Darcy as Columbia brought an added comedic element to the character, without giving too much away there is one euphoric scene that was hysterically funny.
Christopher Luscombe's direction ensures gaps are left for the audience to participate in the well-rehearsed, and sometimes spontaneous, shoutouts in the show.
The scenery generally is modest in quality - for example, the flat pack nature of Brad and Janet's car and the church/castle, this for me only adds to the comedy as not trying to be something it’s not or too serious.
The colourful lighting ensures bright hues blast from every inch of the stage, and effective trickery suggests lightning bolts and laser beams.
Costumes were all incredible, the stage was full of glittering corsets and eye-catching lingerie, contrasting with Brad and Janet's vintage formal wear.
Choreography by Nathan M Wright matches the high-energy score and the cast appeared to be having a ball delivering the catchy numbers. Everyone was on their feet joining in with a finale reprise of "Time Warp”
This production of Rocky Horror Show is an indulgent silly evening of theatre. Whether you're well versed in the participatory element of the show, or completely new to the experience you're sure to have a blast Tickets though limited can be found on the website goh.co.uk