Thomas Howells visits Cardiff’s New Theatre to witness his first experience of The Rocky Horror Show…
It’s just a jump to the left. And then a step to the right. Audience participation is mandatory and it is incredible! Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show is one of the funniest musicals with such captivating songs and one strange story.
The culture around this show is totally insane, the way that people have learnt everything they need to shout out. It’s such a fun experience. Though, at times, people can get a bit loud, generally it is fine and just incredibly humorous. There are even times where it can appear like the audience is influencing the characters and I loved that.
The interaction with the audience from the narrator adds so much to the show and Phillip Franks does the character much justice with a very fitting voice, while interacting with the audience’s shoutbacks well to create a very enjoyable show!
Rocky Horror’s long term, widespread success is evident from the fact that you could have easily heard a song such as Damn It Janet!, Sweet Transvestite and The Timewarp from it and won’t know you had until you see and hear it.
I love the inclusion of modern humour in the musical, even references to the pandemic that add many laughs and create one great show. As well as that, the comedy written into it 50 years ago is retained, making it a musical everybody can enjoy. There are also many examples of jokes being localised to create a funnier and personal experience for the Welsh audience (particularly if your from Splott!).
The first few scenes include two very contrasting ideas on stage, which I found extremely captivating and delivered so well as well! Lighting in the show is incredible! Using perfect psychedelic colours to set the right tone, making the fear struck into our protagonists, Brad (Ore Oduba) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) very understandable. There is also a certain scene where the audience even knew to use their phone lights and point them at certain locations. This is something I have never seen before in a stage show but I loved.
Of course, much magic and fun comes from the shows incredible performers who help the narrator and protagonists drive the musical fun along. These include a wonderfully butch but brilliant Frank n Furter in Stephen Webb and his delightfful spooky sidekicks, Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe), Magenta (Suzie McAdam), Columbia (Lauren Ingram) and Rocky (Ben Westhead).
The Rocky Horror Show is a presentation that long-term fans cannot miss and a musical that anybody looking for one hilarious night out should give a chance. Even when you’ve seen it before, you may want to give it one more shot at appealing to you!