REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show is ‘simply superb’ at Bristol Hippodrome

PUBLISHED: 14:08 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 18 June 2019

Joanne Clifton and James Darch in The Rocky Horror Show. Picture: David Freeman

Joanne Clifton and James Darch in The Rocky Horror Show. Picture: David Freeman

Photo credit David Freeman

It was time to do the Time Warp again as Richard O’Brien’s legendary musical, The Rocky Horror Show, returned to Bristol’s Hippodrome last night (Monday).

Dom Jolly as The Narrator   David FreemanDom Jolly as The Narrator David Freeman

The current incarnation of the show, which is still overseen by O'Brien and has been touring for more than a decade now, shows no signs of slowing down, and despite being more than 40 years old, still feels as fresh and exciting to new audiences as when it first premiered in a tiny upstairs theatre in London in 1973.

Rocky Horror tells the debauched tale of Brad (James Darch) and Janet (Joanne Clifton), a pair of recently engaged college students who find themselves drawn into the machinations of 'sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania' Dr Frank N Furter (Duncan James) who has built himself a man to ease his… tensions.

Aided by his henchman Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe), Magenta (Laura Harrison), and Columbia (Miracle Chance) the pair spend a night they will never forget after seeking shelter from a storm at the crazed doctor's castle after their car breaks down.

Dom Jolly took on the role of the plush-suited narrator and pretty much stole the show, bouncing off the energy of the audience, who are encouraged to heckle throughout. He cracked jokes about the Tory leadership contest and kept his own against the 'tough, but fair' heckler who implied his career was over during one of his monologues.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Picture: Richard DavenportThe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Picture: Richard Davenport

However, the linchpin of a good Rocky Horror production rests on the tattooed shoulders of Frank N Furter, and Duncan James' turn as the deranged doctor was simply superb.

I was sceptical going in, only knowing him from his days in Blue, but as soon as he exploded onto the stage during Sweet Transvestite, James consistently chewed up the scenery and owned every inch of the stage with a performance which would have made Tim Curry proud.

Darsh and Clifton have great chemistry as Brad and Janet, while Clifton gets a chance to use some of her Strictly skills during Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me.

Bawdy, brash and down-right brilliant, this is one science fiction double feature you don't want to miss.

Duncan James as Frank N Furter

.   Picture Richard DavenportDuncan James as Frank N Furter . Picture Richard Davenport

The Rocky Horror Picture Show runs till Saturday, with performances at 8pm daily.

Tickets, priced £13-50, are available from the box office on 08448 713012 or from the theatre's website.

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