Review: Rocky Horror Show 50th tour hits His Majesty's Aberdeen
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The longest running contemporary stage musical in the world, The Rocky Horror is now in its 50th year and continues to delight audiences across the world.
As part of the current international tour that takes in Italy, Spain and Ireland, the production was welcomed to Aberdeen this week.
After 50 years, most (but not all) of the audience are clued into this classic and with a dedicated group of fans each night who dress as their favourite characters, the audience are just as much a part of the production as the cast.
Over the years, the show has seen touring production add headliners taking on the role of Frank N Furter, Brad, Janet and even Rocky himself, generally to good effect.
But this tour takes the cream of West End musical theatre talent out on the road, and it shows with some of the strongest performances of the now iconic personas.
For those that don't know, the story follows Brad and Janet, a newly engaged couple, whose car breaks down, and in search of a phone they end up in the castle of Dr Frank N Furter, who happens to be a scientist from the planet Transylvania whose experiments in creating life itself are coming to a climax.
Protagonists Brad Majors (Richard Meek) and Janey Weiss (Haley Flaherty) bring wonderful enthusiasm to the roles, with Janet in particular channelling a touch of Shelley Long's character Diane from Cheers.
Suzie McAdam makes a delicious Magenta and if your going to have a Rocky pro, then there really is no other than Kristian Lavercombe to play Riff Raff; Kristian holds the current record for the most performances in the Rocky Horror Show in its entire history and was greeted with rapturous applause on his first appearance during 'There's a light (Ovcr at the Frankenstein place).
It's a point that's maybe missed sometimes, but Rocky Horror needs a really good Columbia as her story arc is a central anchor to a lot of the action and Darcy Finden steps into those tap shoes to steals the show at one point in an amazing turn as one of the best Columbias' yet.
The dual role of Eddie/Dr Scott lets Joe Allen belt out the rockin' Hot Patootie number and also go full on Dr Strangeglove as the investigator of "That which you call UFOs".
Ben Westhead is a (very fit) Rocky and brings the tenderness and vulnerability to the good Dr's creation playing off well against his creator.
And on which, strapping on the corset, high heels and cloak for what is, simply the best entrance in musical theatre is Stephen Webb as Frank N Furter.
While for a good swathe of the audience, you've a particular version of Frank in your head (Tim Curry's of course), this Frank offers a just as delightfully rude and naughty interpretation with a touch of the germanic creeping in (as Tim Curry said in interview, how he was originally going to play him, before overhearing two ridiculously posh ladies talking on the bus about a 'howse in the cowntry'."
Rounding off the cast is the narrator (a criminologist), which offers guest stars a chance to go full on pantomine call and response but uncensored of course
Taking on the velvet jacket, Jackie Clune was on fine form indeed on the opening night in Aberdeen and ready to take on a highly appreciative and inventive audience, from whom two particular catcalls (which are an expected part of the experience) managed to bring pause and smiles from the cast themselves.
Along with a great backing band and excellent choreography, mention must also be made of Hugh Durrant's set which, while keeping things very unfussy, offers some ingenious was for key scenes to play out.
And you will do the Time Warp again !.
Rocky Horror Show runs at His Majesty's Aberdeen, till September 23 with tickets from www.aberdeenperformingarts.com and at the Box Office.