With a deltoid and a bicep, a hot groin and a tricep, Oliver Thornton ruled the Rocky Horror Show, making everyone ooooooh, shiver with antici… pation.
It’s easy to spot when Rocky is in town, as hoards of costumed fans make their way into the centre of Bristol. Compared to previous years, the audience seem slightly tame with their interaction. There were moments of sheer joy when Christopher Luscombe both director and Narrator in the show batted off scripted abuse with ease. But the lack of banter and more hen night than Rocky costumes from the auditorium did nothing to dampen the atmosphere of what was an electric show.
Amazingly, despite reaching 40 years of age, Rocky Horror continues to feel fresh and ahead of its time. Richard O’Brien’s musical about Dr Frank-N-Furter, the Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, blends science fiction B movies with rock n roll, plenty of sex but also poignant moments, reflection and liberation. Somehow it all seems to be one big perfect party that everyone enjoys.
Though originally a stage show, it’s the cult movie featuring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Meatloaf and Little Nell we are all most familiar with. The whimsical way original Frank-N-Furter Tim Curry, delivered the script must still be adhered to today. But Thornton doesn’t let this limit his performance. He manages to make the character his own, whilst still embodying the essence and echoes of Curry. He strides across the stage managing to remain masculine but also ooze sensuality. He’s played similar roles before, performing as Felicia/Adam in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre.
The costuming of all the characters belies the youthful cast underneath. Kristian Lavercombe is a real surprise. He must surely be as close to Richard o’Brien’s Riff Raff as is possible to get. Yet, the youthful photo beaming out above his biography is a million miles from the creepy aging butler.
Jayde Westaby took the opportunity to shine as the Usherette, with her Magenta incarnation never really being given a chance to develop.
Some of the best moments in the show happened when the tiny cast came together for the Time Warp and the Floor Show. With their combined vocal talents and energy, the entire ensemble lifted the show from Great to Simply Brilliant.
Of course, the show has ‘Rude Parts’ for which it is famed. But somehow in comparison to some of the music videos children are watching these days, it seems nowhere near as bad. The age recommendation is 16 years and above, but it wouldn’t be a social services job to take a young fan from 13 years upwards.
Don’t Dream It – get a ticket.
Running at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 24 August 2013
Tickets from £10.00