Dammit Janet! The Rocky Horror Show: Review

We’ve had quite a spate musicals recently at the New Theatre in Oxford, last week we were at Rock of Ages starring Kevin Clifton. This week, we sat down to watch the Rocky Horror Show which is on until 30th March and where Kevin’s sister, Joanne, takes on the role of Janet.

The best thing about going to see the Rocky Horror Show is the audience. At Oxford, the audience turned out in their best fancy dress, fishnets, knee-high boots, corsets, wigs and maid’s aprons. (I could not persuade Tom to wear a feather boa and we were both desperately underdressed!)  And they knew every line when it came to audience participation.

Since it first opened in London in June 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite Rock ‘N’ Roll musical, having been performed worldwide for 45 years in more than 30 countries and translated into over 20 languages.

If you didn’t know, The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their favourite college professor.

My favourite character has always been the narrator, who was played by Philip Franks in this production, and Franks managed the heckles with great comedic skill.

The current touring version stars Blue singer and Hollyoaks actor Duncan James who makes a very sensual Frank, with just a touch of the panto dame about him. Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton plays Janet and a1’s Ben Adams is Brad. Kristian Lavercombe also reprises his role as Riff Raff, following more than 1300 performances in The Rocky Horror Show around the world.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the smash hit show features all of the famous musical numbers which have made The Rocky Horror Show such a huge hit for over four decades, including ‘Sweet Transvestite’, ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’, ‘Dammit Janet’ and, of course, the timeless floor-filler, ‘The Time-Warp’ – and everyone, including Tom, was on their feet doing their best pelvic thrusts.

I don’t normally include chunks straight from the press release, but these facts illustrate the shows enduring appeal…

“The Rocky Horror Show first began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. It was an immediate success and transferred to the Chelsea Classic Cinema, before going on to run at the Kings Road Theatre, 1973-79 and the Comedy Theatre in the West End, 1979-80. In 1975 it was transformed into a film called ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. This film adaptation took over $135 million at the Box Office and is still shown in cinemas around the world more than 40 years after its premiere, making it the longest running theatrical release in cinema history.

“Many stars including Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Jerry Springer, Jason Donovan and Meatloaf have appeared in The Rocky Horror Show over the past 45 years.

“In 2015, as part of a sold-out season at London’s Playhouse Theatre, a special star-studded Gala charity performance in aid of Amnesty International was broadcast to over 600 cinemas across the UK and Europe.

“The live screening – featuring a host of celebrities playing The Narrator including Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc, Emma Bunton, Ade Edmondson, Anthony Head and Richard O’Brien – smashed box office records and was the biggest grossing film in cinemas across the UK. The performance was subsequently screened on the Sky Arts channel.”

Tickets can be purchased from the New Theatre box office on George Street, by ringing 0844 871 3020 or by visiting our website at www.atgtickets.com/oxford

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