REVIEW: Rocky Horror Show returns to Cardiff for its 50th anniversary

It’s hard to believe Rocky Horror is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its cult following is only growing. With iconic songs such as “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite”, this show is not to be missed!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo by The Other Richard.

I went to the opening night on Bank Holiday Monday, and was straight away amazed by all the fantastic costumes on display. I knew audience participation played a big part, but it still caught me off guard when audience members began shouting out responses.

Fans of Rocky Horror are hard-core, knowing exactly when to call out, and interacted perfectly with Jackie Clune, the narrator. Clune was fantastic, with many hilarious phrases which I can’t repeat, but she also managed to make lots of specific jokes about Wales, which went down like a house on fire. My sides hurt from laughing and I would love to see more female narrators in the future.

Rocky Horror is cheeky, sexual and so very funny. If you thought the 1975 film was raunchy, the show takes it to another level! My boyfriend described it as an “adult pantomime”, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, even though he doesn’t love musicals! Act 1 in particular, is like a speeding train, with hit after hit, you won’t stop singing and dancing. Everyone was on their feet doing the iconic time-warp choreography and if you need to sing and dance along during a show, this is one where it’s not just allowed, but encouraged!

Photo by David Freeman

You would have thought that Beyonce had come out on stage when Stephen Webb came out as Frank N Furter to sing “Sweet Transvestite”, the cheers were that loud! He was incredibly good, channelling such sass and really commanding the stage. Comparisons to Tim Curry are inevitable but Webb really gave his own spin on the role, whilst being immensely funny.

The songs are often raunchy but very clever, and the cast performs them excellently, adding fresh layers and loads of crazy choreography. The songs were all sung with impressive vocal agility, especially from Kristian Lavercombe as Riff-Raff and Darcy Finden as Columbia. Kristian has performed in the show more than anyone in its 50 year history, with over 2200 performances, which is a mind-blowing achievement!

I also loved Suzie McAdam as the Usherette/Magenta, it was hard to believe she played both roles and she was incredibly charming playing both parts, with an amazing vocal range. Brad and Janet are played perfectly by Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty, and I loved Ben Westhead as Rocky also. Dr Scott/Eddie is another dual role played by Joe Allen, who was brilliant especially during “Hot Patootie”.

If you’re in need of a good laugh, this is the perfect show. Rocky Horror may well be more than fifty years old, but it’s as entertaining, and arguably more relevant now than its ever been. There’s a real charm and heart to the show with a great sense of community. I hope it runs for another 50 years!

The show will run in Cardiff until Saturday 15 April with tickets priced £32.50-£52. For more information, visit the New Theatre’s website.

Leave a Reply