Press Review: Rocky Horror Show at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Outrageous, absurd… and completely fabulous!

The Rocky Horror Show returns to Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre this week, celebrating its 50th anniversary – the longest continuous run of a contemporary musical anywhere in the world. 

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancé Janet, two clean-cut college kids who find themselves stranded after their car breaks down while on their way to visit a former college professor. Seeking help at a creepy mansion nearby, they are introduced to Dr Frank’n’Furter and embark on an adventure that they’ll never forget. 

This is the fifth time I have seen the show – more than any other musical – and I have seen each cast member in their roles at least once (Kristian Lavercombe has played Riff Raff in all five).

The whole cast is exceptional. One of my favourite songs of the whole show is “Science Fiction Double Feature,” performed by the Usherette, and Suzie McAdam always does this beautifully, continuing to wow in the double role of Magenta – perhaps one of my only disappointments in the show is that we don’t get to hear more of her powerful voice. Kristian Lavercombe yet again embodies every part of Riff Raff, a role that he has performed over 2,000 times on stage (more than any other in the history of the show). Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty were the perfect Brad and Janet, sweet and innocent, yet easily influenced to reveal their naughty sides. Darcy Finden was hilarious as Columbia, and Joe Allen had the audience dancing in their seats during “Hot Patootie” as Eddie, continuing in the dual role of Dr Scott. Ben Westhead yet again did a great job as Rocky – while this is technically his professional musical theatre debut he is certainly now an experienced performer, to the point where I think he was even better than the last time we watched him.

Philip Franks once again had the audience roaring in their seats as the Narrator. I’ve noted this before, but a good narrator in Rocky Horror makes the audience feel like it is the first time they are hearing the heckled responses, and he has developed down this to an absolute art. His comic timing and ad-libs were so good, in fact, that they even caught some of the cast members off guard (who were clearly stifling giggles while desperately trying to stay in character).

And of course, there’s Frank, played by the highly talented Stephen Webb. Charismatic, camp and sexy with a gorgeous deep voice, Webb had the audience completely captivated throughout as he strutted around the stage in his corset and heels.   

For seasoned performers who have played the same characters for such a long period of time, I was yet again surprised by the sheer level of enthusiasm and energy throughout that would be more representative of an opening night. The Rocky Horror Show is outrageous, absurd… and completely fabulous. It still remains as one of my favourites – I would be more than happy to watch it five times more. 

The Rocky Horror Show is on stage at The Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 1st April. Purchase your tickets here!

Photos – previous production.


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