Anticipation was high for this show, the latest high profile touring production to grave the Storyhouse:
The Rocky Horror Show surely needs no introduction , with Richard O Brien’s classic musical first debuting back in 1973. However it appeared that the regular bunch of Chester “protesters” were stuck in a time warp as they picketed Storyhouse on opening night telling theatre goers they had “dirty minds” and to “enjoy a night of sodomy and transvestites”. Their interaction with cast and crew members added to the fun and drama of the evening with one member of the production team asking the neighbourhood bigots to hand out flyers for the show.
For those that haven’t seen the show, the story concerns the strange journey undertaken by innocent couple Brad and Janet when they stumble upon the castle of cross dressing mad scientist Frank N Furter. Introduced to the charismatic and flamboyant Frank, Stephen Webb, strutting across the Storyhouse stage and dominating every scene , the couple are swiftly embroiled in a technicolour world of seduction, experiments gone wrong and aliens from the planet Transsexual. Kristian Lavercombe as the hunch backed Riff Raff impressed with his strong vocals, having played the part over 1400 times and clearly loving his work, with Miracle Chance was suitably crazy as the lovelorn Columbia. This roller coaster of a show is extremely fast paced, with swift set changes , highly memorable songs , and the audience up on their feet and dancing after just twenty minutes.
Philip Franks was one of the stars of the evening, superb as the eyebrow raising Narrator, enjoying his interactions with the audience and throwing in some topical references to Boris Johnson/the Hulk, Wrexham and Storyhouse itself.
The show builds to an emotional climax throwing in a twist as Frank’s fate is revealed and Brad and Janet escape back to reality. The melancholic reprise of “Science Fiction Double Feature” is a contrast to the wild singalong madness of the evening. However everyone is back on stage time warping again, with the finale receiving applause like nothing I’ve seen in Chester before.
Sometimes you go to the theatre to explore what it means to be human, or to reflect on some dark political or personal situations, sometimes it’s just to forget everything and have a great time. The Rocky Horror show offers an uplifting evening of pure undiluted fun and frolics, guaranteed to put a smile on your face , and sure to stay with you for a long time afterwards.