REVIEW: Rocky Horror at Cambridge Arts Theatre - the show where the audience just wishes they were on the stage
PUBLISHED: 22:57 16 July 2019
Photo by David Freeman
Some of the coachloads of fans who came to Cambridge Arts Theatre to see The Rocky Horror Show, over 40 years since it was written, knew every line of this send-up of both the horror movie and science fiction.
The men were dressed in basques, suspender belts and fishnet stockings - and that was just the audience.
Some of the coachloads of fans who came to Cambridge Arts Theatre to see The Rocky Horror Show, over 40 years since it was written, knew every line of this combined send-up of the horror movie and science fiction.
People in the stalls shouted out the lines before the actors could get to them. Narrator, Steve Punt was adept at fielding the heckles. Some people behaved in a fashion that would normally get you thrown out of the theatre. None of the cast was put off, they just carried on regardless.
This production is superb. Joanne Clifton, known as one of the professional dancers on Strictly, belted out the numbers and gave a stylish performance as Janet, one half of the newly engaged couple who arrive one stormy night at a spooky castle, home of the sinister cross-dresser Frank N Furter.
On Tuesday, July 16, understudy Reece Budin excelled as Janet's fiance, Brad.
The couple's car has broken down. All they want is to use the telephone but they get caught up in Furter's evil fantasies.
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The audience was clapping before the show began, they cheered throughout and the auditorium was entirely on its feet at the end "Doing the Time Warp Again." They would have stayed doing it again until morning, if after several encores, the theatre had not finally turned the house lights on.
Stephen Webb is wonderful as the evil Frank N Furter with unbounded verve, energy, panache and power.
Laura Harrison, who plays the servant Magenta, was also the Usherette whose lovely voice opens and closes the show.
There are no small parts (as it were) and no lesser numbers. Kristian Lavercombe as servile Riff Raff and Miracle Chance as spurned lover Columbia show what they are made of and make the most of it - as does the acrobat gymnast, Callum Evans, Frank N Furter's muscle-rippling creation - the perfect man with blond hair and an all over tan.
Since its debut on the London stage in 1973, Richard O'Brien's creation has stood the test of time. Possibly the most camp show ever seen in the West End, the songs are gloriously catchy, the dance routines still get audiences on their feet.
The show is a pantomime, a professional showcase and after all these years, a triumph.