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 The Theatreguide.London Review


Rocky Horror Show
Comedy Theatre January 2007, Playhouse Autumn 2015, and national tour before, after, and in between

Interrupting a year-long tour of the provinces for a month in London, this revival of Richard O'Brien's cult musical delivers a traditional Fun Night Out.

Indeed, if memory and my yellowing old notes serve me, this new production is in some ways superior to the 1973 original. Back then I wrote that, for all its fun, it seemed to lack the courage of its convictions, too rarely hitting the level of camp, outrageousness or energy that it was trying for.

I can't make that complaint here. Director Christopher Luscombe keeps the energy level high throughout, the staging hits exactly the right balance of invention and tackiness, and he has one unquestionably fiery star turn by David Bedella as Frank'N'Furter, the sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania.

Bedella, who stole the show and all the awards as the satanic warm-up man in Jerry Springer The Opera, burns up the stage in all his big numbers, and is the only one to hit and sustain exactly the right level of camp outrageousness throughout.

And he and Brian Capron (who alternates the Narrator role with Danny Baker and Steve Pemberton) are also the only ones able to cope - skilfully - with those few in the audience who think they're at a midnight movie and attempt the ritual shouting back at the screen.

The only other cast member worth mentioning is Julian Essex-Spurrier, who gives Rocky more personality than you'd think possible. Everyone else ranges from Almost Adequate to Considerably Worse.

You know, if we want to be absolutely honest, this is not a particularly good musical. The Time Warp is irresistible, of course, and Hot Patootie rocks, but most of the other songs are just filler. The wit rarely rises beyond adolescent level (Dr. Frank'N'Furter), and what passes for a plot completely falls apart by the end.

But it is good dirty fun, especially when David Bedella is onstage. If you miss it in London - it's only here for a few weeks - it will be touring the country again through July.

 Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - Rocky Horror Show - Comedy 2007