Review: The Rocky Horror Show. (touring) Royal and Derngate. Northampton.

Having never seen past performances or it’s film adaptation, I walk into The Rocky Horror Show  blind and innocent to the exhilarating (and enlightening) experience of Richard O’Brien’s rock n’ roll masterpiece. I have no expectations of leaving the theatre being converted and charmed by the enthralling Dr Frank ‘N’ Furter and my head being stuck in a loop with the ‘Time Warp’ over and over.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, Northampton’s Derngate has been blessed this week with the notoriously raunchy yet glamourous performance that is The Rocky Horror Show. The story follows two young and wholesomely naïve college students, Brad (Ore Oduba) and Janet (Haley Flaherty). After their spontaneous engagement, the couple soon find themselves in need of help when their car breaks down with nowhere to go other than a freakishly ominous castle. They soon come to regret this as they’re welcomed by the sweet seductive psycho, Dr Frank ‘N’ Furter (Stephen Webb) and embark on an adventure that is as bizarre as it is fabulous. Featuring every one of its iconic songs, including: ‘Dammit Janet’, ‘Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me’, and the ever legendary ‘Time Warp’ the show has everyone up off their seats. Don’t be surprised to see fishnet adorned super fans in the audience joining in the fun with crazy costumes and humorous heckles as that’s just the charm of the show. For the uninitiated, much like I am, there’s no reason to be afraid as you can find a virgin’s guide on their website.

It’s hard to praise just a few names in the show as the cast in its entirety perform to perfection. Though if there has to be a star of the show, it must be Dr Frank ‘N’ Furter, played by Stephen Webb. From the moment he takes to the stage up until the curtain call, he has the audience entranced and dying for more. His vocals are astounding, outfits amazing and his portrayal of the ‘Sweet Transvetite’ from transexual Transylvania could not be any better. I don’t think most people can run around revving a chainsaw above their heads with murderous intent and look good while doing it. Stephen Webb does!

The Narrator (Phillip Frank), for me, is one of the highlights of the show as his presence alone has you prepared to be left in laughter. Taking on the much-welcomed heckles from fans with grace he delivers comical comebacks with hysterical execution. His quips are as unforgettable as they are funny, even making satirical fun of Boris Johnson’s ‘succession’, COVID-19 and Prince Andrew. What I love most about the experience is that you can tell the cast, especially Phillip Frank, are having as much fun as you.

Strictly Come Dancing winner and renowned presenter, Ore Oduba does well alongside Haley Flaherty as Brad and Janet. Their innocent charm captivates the audience with ease as they have what can only be described as an awakening experience. I didn’t know what to expect from Oduba, but I was sold from the moment I heard ‘Dammit Janet’. And It’d only be wrong to not recognise marvellous minions of the mansion, Riff Raff (Kristen Lavercombe), Magenta (Suzie McAdam) and Columbia (Lauren Ingram). These three are made for their roles but Lauren Ingram’s Columbia often steals the show with her boundless energy and encaptivating performance.

The only fault I can even think of is why I haven’t I seen this any sooner? The Rocky Horror Show is a theatre experience like no other and is something I believe everyone must see at some point in their lives. It’s been around for nearly 50 years, so you have no excuse not to. Book your tickets online while you still can as it leaves the Royal & Derngate July 9th and trust me, you’ll never want to miss out on having an amazing time (warp) again!


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