Life, etc

Two words for The Rocky Horror Show: Rock out!

By Lesley Stones 10 February 2014

The Rocky Horror Show has never made a lot of sense, if you apply real analytics to it. But it’s best just to apply lots of kitch make-up, an outragous costume and a very open mind, and get carried away with the delightful lunacy of it all. By LESLEY STONES.

This camp cult show has been around for so long that now the audience almost carries it along by sheer momentum, gleefully waiting for the next line and the next scene with eager antici….pation.

The plot has young innocents Brad and Janet stumbling across a mysterious castle where a bizarre collection of characters are acting out their fantasies in a heady blend of science fiction and soft porn. There are some lovely quirky moments and lots of naughty bits, all wrapped up in glitz and glam and razzle-dazzle madness.

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While the cast are all pretty much excellent in their roles, this Rocky Horror revival belongs entirely to the towering Brendan van Rhyn as Dr Frank-N-Furter. It’s a role that feels tailor made for him, as he cracks the whip, simmers and sneers, struts and softly seduces. He literally stands head and shoulders taller than half the cast and his charisma propels the show to a point where the stage feels empty in the few moments when he’s not there.

Van Rhyn has a belter of a voice too, yet it’s a story of light and dark, and one of the more memorable moments is a scene near the end as his decadent erotic dream collapses around him in a mess of leathers and lace.

Riff Raff the eerie and enigmatic butler is played beautifully by Andrew Laubscher, all gangly limbs and hidden menace beneath the compliant exterior. One of the funniest scenes is a dance that Riff Raff performs with Magenta, with the delightful choreography adding some unexpected silliness.

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Adrian Galley as the Narrator is another highly watchable character, popping up between the schemes to explain the action just in case – as is highly likely – novice members of the audience have lost the plot.

This is a big show with some great special effects, and the stage always feels a fraction too small for the action. That’s partly because its size has been reduced to make space for a live band, which sadly sits hidden behind a screen at the back.

Brilliant graphics by James Cooke and animations by Anwar McWhite add tremendously to the fun, especially in a fabulous scene where the virginal Brad and Janet are driving an animated car.

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At times the action loses its pace a fraction, but as loyal followers know, there’s always another scene coming that will pep things up again. At times I lost some of the lyrics too, with the music occasionally overpowering the voices. That was most noticeable with Shaun Smit as Rocky, whose body has a lot more muscle than his vocal chords.

Before the show begins you can buy a participation pack to join in by throwing confetti, waving a glowstick and tooting a hooter at the appropriate moment, which all adds to the wackiness as the action washes out over the audience.

The Rocky Horror Show runs at Montecasino Theatre until March 30. Tickets are available from Computicket or the box office on 011-511-1818. DM

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www.lesleystones.co.za

Photos by Jesse Kramer

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