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Review: The Rocky Horror Show

An evening of naughtiness awaits you at the Bristol Hippodrome

I was excited about seeing the Rocky Horrow Show, now on at the Bristol Hippodrome, although this excitement must come with a confession: it was not the same type as shown by about 70% of the audience, who were fabulously dressed in fishnets, corsets, and lacy underwear. Mine was the excitement of a first-time viewer. Having never seen the film nor other reincarnations of the show, I was keen to see what all the cult fuss is about – and I certainly was not disappointed.

Photo: Richard Davenport

The Rocky Horror Show’s plot is – as I’m sure lots of you will know – completely whacky. When all-American sweethearts and newly engaged Brad and Janet take a wrong turn in the road, they knock on the door of Frank N Furter, a “Transylvanian sweet transvestite” who uses his spooky home for human laboratory experiments. Only wanting to use the phone, Brad and Janet find themselves on a weird and wonderful journey of sexual liberation, duplicity and out-of-this-world (quite literally) characters.

Joanne Clifton and James Darch

Duncan James plays Frank N Furter perfectly: at once charismatic, creepy, sexy and scary, he sings like a champion, moves like a showgirl and vogues like a professional. Who knew the beautiful boy from Blue could be so majorly talented?!

Photo: Johan Persson

Another big name in this cast is Dom Joly, who plays the straight-laced, velvet-jacketed narrator. He also has a lot of fun with the audience, dropping in a “when in Bristol” joke here and a Bo-Jo gag there.

Photo: David Freeman

The whole cast, in fact, is super: their strong, gutsy voices, playful physicality and ability to work with the laughs mean that the plot, as balmy as it gets, never descends into complete chaos.

Photo: David Freeman

Perhaps the character that contributed most to the night was the audience itself: shouting out the iconic innuendo interjections to the script at every turn; jumping up with alacrity and dancing to “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again” (twice!); and dressing up in cheeky solidarity to Frank N Furter and his lusty band of followers. It makes for a true baptism by fire for a newbie to the show. My pal, a returning fan, found it lived up in every way. Don your fishnets and book your tickets!


The Rocky Horror Show is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until Sat 22 June.

Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UZ.



Words: Alex Sayers



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