Review: Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at the Orchard Theatre

I have to confess something… until last night, I was a Rocky Horror virgin. Richard O’Brien’s classic musical is not so much a stage show as a phenomenon with a life of its own, and seeing it for the first time feels a bit like stumbling into a club of which you’re not a member. There are weird outfits, private jokes and choreographed dance moves – and that’s just the audience.

Fortunately, initiation into the Rocky Horror club is not only painless, but a lot of fun. And one thing becomes abundantly clear from the first moment: if you love this show, you will love this show. It’s a classic of such epic proportions, with such a devoted following, that it doesn’t really matter who’s in it, or where you see it; unless something goes horribly wrong, a Rocky Horror fan – old or new – is pretty much guaranteed a good time.

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For the record, though, the touring production of Rocky Horror currently making a stop at the Orchard Theatre is of the highest quality, whether you’ve seen the show hundreds of times or you’re a slightly bewildered newbie. Slick, sexy and spectacular, it has a wicked sense of humour matched only by the increasingly cheeky responses being shouted by the Dartford audience, which the cast – particularly Norman Pace as the Narrator – handle with great aplomb.

Richard Meek and Lauren Ingram are perky and loveable as newly engaged Brad and Janet, who find themselves drawn into the bizarre world of Dr Frank-N-Furter when they get a flat tyre on a stormy night. Kristian Lavercombe is irresistibly creepy as Riff Raff, Dominic Andersen sets everyone’s pulses racing as Rocky and Sophie Linder-Lee’s Columbia is a brilliantly unhinged groupie. But the stage really belongs to Liam Tamne as Frank-N-Furter, the Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania; hilarious, seductive and quite, quite mad (not to mention a bit chainsaw-happy), he has both his guests and the audience in the palm of his hand from the start.

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Oh, and the songs. Well, we all know the songs, right? Dammit Janet, Sweet Transvestite, Hot Patootie… Even for a first-timer, they’re pretty hard to resist – and come on, who never did the Time Warp at their school disco? There were a couple of occasions when the band drowned out the vocals a bit, but by that point things had got so bonkers I’d long since given up on keeping track of what was happening anyway.

Don’t think of Rocky Horror as a musical. It’s an experience: one I’m glad to have had – and that I won’t soon forget…

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is at the Orchard Theatre until 11th June 2016.

4 thoughts on “Review: Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at the Orchard Theatre

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and the production is good! I’m going on Saturday so was nervous to see what you thought. I just about know every word in this – I used to watch the film every day after school!

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  2. Hello- I love your blog header. I saw the show in Manchester in January and Liverpool in February. I have two more shows booked in Glasgow and Manchester (again!) I had the fortune of seeing Lauren Ingram for half a show in Manchester when Diana Vickers went off sick and I cannot WAIT to see Richard Meek. I have heard LOTS of good things! For me I think Liam Tamne and Kristian Lavercombe are the real show stealers, but I love this cast so much! 🙂

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      1. I am a fairly new fan. To tell you the truth, the first time I watched the stage show was during the ‘live screening’ at my local VUE cinema. After I heard that Liam Tamne was being cast as ‘Frank’ I was sold. I have been a fan since he was on ‘The Voice’ in 2013. 🙂 I have to admit that I am not keen on Diana Vickers as ‘Janet’ and I am relieved that Ben Freeman (Brad from Dec- early June) left because he was pretty terrible. O_o Yes, I do dress up. I just wore a black body con dress, fishnets and DR Martens to the early show in Manchester, and had a wacky almost party-goer style outfit for Liverpool. I bought myself a red & black ‘floor-show’ style corset for Glasgow and Manchester. The corsets on Amazon are reasonably priced and surprisingly well made. (I was cynical and careful to be vigilant with checking the sizing since it was made in China!)

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