The Rocky Horror Show at Malvern Theatres: Review

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The most successful, iconic rock ‘n’ roll musical ever is touring in 2019 and last night, it debuted at Malvern Theatres. As expected, audience participation and dancing was encouraged. The usual Rocky Horror show ingredients were all present and correct. Sci-fi, horror, comedy and music. All the classic songs brought the show to life, with a large dose of innuendo and humour thrown in. Of course, there were some wacky costumes on show too.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show ©The Other Richard

The show

Richard O’Brien’s legendary show first took to the stage back in 1973. An immediate hit, it has since been seen by millions in theatres around the world. The Rocky Horror Picture Show film soon followed, turning the story into the cult classic it is today. At well over 40 years old, the Rocky Horror Show hasn’t lost any of its charm. In fact, it has gained a little something extra over the years. A caricature of its former self, the performance had a pantomime twist and an acknowledgement of the importance of audience participation.

As a child of the 80s, no school disco was ever complete without the Time Warp. After the initial introduction, the storm and inevitable tyre blowout, things moved quickly on stage. Before long, the characters were singing the theme to my childhood and I felt right at home.

Set changes were fast and impressive. From Janet and Brad in the car, we were quickly transported to Frank N Furter’s castle. The cult following of The Rocky Horror Show was abundantly clear. A huge number of the audience were dressed up as characters, many going all-out in fishnet stockings and suspenders. As soon as the show began, so did the good-natured heckling. Steve Punt as the narrator was particularly quick-witted with a comeback to every put-down thrown at him. There were even a few minutes of panto fun with “Oh, yes it is”, “Oh, no it isn’t!” It’s easy to see why people watch this show again and again. This was probably the most raucous Monday night Malvern Theatres have ever seen.

The Rocky Horror show story and cast

There are a few big names in this year’s tour, not least Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton. Swapping the ballroom for the stage comes naturally to Clifton, who dons a corset and fishnets to play Janet. She has an strong singing voice that pairs with her amazing dancing ability to make her a natural choice for the role. My only slight disappointment was that I struggled to understand the lyrics she was singing at times. I suspect this wasn’t a problem for most people though. I was definitely in the minority within the audience for not already knowing every line of the production word for word.

James Darch takes on the role of Frank, while Kristian Lavercombe transforms into Riff Raff. If you’re not already aware of The Rocky Horror Show story, you’ll be introduced to college kids Brad and Janet. A mistimed broken down car catapults them into the strange world of Dr Frank ‘n’ Furter, and the adventures begin. This isn’t one for youngsters as it’s a little risqué at times. However, if you’re looking for a theatre show with a party atmosphere and amusement by the bucket load, you’re going to love it.

The Rocky Horror Show is at Malvern Theatres from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th July. Show times and tickets are on their website. If you’re thinking of seeing it at Malvern, I advise booking quickly because it’s clearly a popular production. The theatre was absolutely packed. The show continues to tour around the UK into the Autumn and further dates are available on the Rocky Horror website.

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