'Don't Dream it, Be it'

If you've been living under a rock for the last 40 years (or you're just a young'un) you probably have no idea what the above image relates to. Since it's first performance in 1973, The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien has become a world-wide Rock 'n' Roll musical sensation and has built up a substantial cult following. Now, it's most likely you've at least seen the film adaption starring Tim Curry, or at the very least be aware of the show's biggest hit... The Timewarp. However, for many including myself, the true brilliance is in the stage show. In 2006 I was a Rocky Horror virgin when my friend convinced me to dress up in my best corset and head to our local theatre. En route I believed we would be the only one's dressed up and I was prepared for many odd stares. How wrong was I? Everyone, men and women, had gone all out and the place was filled with more suspenders than a Victoria Secret show. The atmosphere outside was electric, but that was nothing compared to during the performance. Now if you're not familiar with Rocky Horror, you may not understand the concept of audience participation in the show, which began with the midnight showings of the film back in 1975. People will shout out, use props and you'll be most definitely be expected to jump up and dance to The Timewarp at least twice. It's like no other show out there, and before long you'll be joining in, waving your flashlight during 'Over at the Frankenstein Place'.

So, why all of a sudden am I writing about this wonderful show if I first saw it in 2006? Well, to be truthful, after that showing I loved it so much I've now seen the show four times in total and every year I have loved it more and more. Most recently, I went to see it on Monday. The show is now celebrating 40 years, and after a two year break, they are back touring the UK with a new 40th Anniversary Party Production. This means a new set, and more interestingly a new cast. The star role of Dr Frank'n'Furter has been taken over from the fantastic David Bedella, by Oliver Thornton who is probably best known for his role as Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Dessert. Now I was a big fan of David Bedella. His portrayal of Frank was brilliant, and truth be told I did miss him during this production. However, Oliver Thornton made the role his own, bringing out a side to Frank I had never contemplated before. He bought raw emotion to the role, which was most apparent in his rendition of 'I'm Going Home'. I think the hardest part of this role, is to not find yourself trying to match up the original Frank, Tim Curry, and I'm happy to say Oliver really bought something new and refreshing to the stage. Not to mention, he is extremely good looking and has the most fantastic pair of legs, which really makes you question why the men in the show actually look better in suspenders than the women do! So yes, it took a little re-adjusting (pardon the phrase) after David's departure, but I am happy to report that Oliver does a tremendous job as Frank and I hope to see him again in the role, mainly because his version of 'Sweet Transvestite' has been stuck in my head since Monday... it was THAT good.

Other additions to cast also include, Sam Attwater as Brad and Dani Harmer as Janet. Now, I will admit I was a bit skeptical about Dani as Janet, only because I'd only ever seen her as Tracy Beaker... quite the leap if you've seen Rocky Horror and it's content. How wrong I was! Her transformation into the role of Janet was flawless and I completely forgot about her Tracy Beaker image from the moment she stepped onto the stage. Sam was as equally brilliant, and was one of my favourite 'Brads' out of the four I've seen so far. I really commend both of them, along with the rest of this excellent cast.

As for the set changes, I felt they made the stage look more 'solid' than in previous productions and the more colourful additions fitted in well with the party theme. I must admit though, I still preferred the set of the 09/10 tour, mainly because it was a little darker, almost 'creepier' in some regards, thus fitting in more with the rather dark undertone of the show and making the whole notion of Frank's outfits even more outlandish.

Now I understand that Rocky Horror is not everyone's cup of tea, and some simply just don't 'get' it, but if you ever get the chance to see it, and aren't easily offended, please give it a chance as you will not regret it. I can almost guarantee you'll feed off the atmosphere and be singing the soundtrack for at least a week after (I'm serious, if I sing 'Dammit Janet' one more time I might as well join the cast). For me, Rocky Horror is a chance to step out of the norm and just have a night that is full of laughter, good music and is a little bit sexy. Really, where else are you going to be able to Timewarp with a theater full of people dressed in suspenders? 

If you're really not sure if this show is for you, here's a little clip:
(Warning: Does feature suspenders and Time Warping 18+ advised)
Like I said, I am hoping to see this version of the production again, and will continue to see it every time it tours near me. If you love musicals, but are after something a little different, then why not give it a go? But if you have seen it, what did you think and who is your favourite character to dress up as? 
I hope you enjoyed my quick review. I don't want to give too much away as it's still on tour for the rest of this year. If you want to find out when the tour is near you and how to buy tickets you can do so from here. If you'd just like to find out more in general about the show, head here.
Happy Timewarping!