“Whatever happened to Fay Wray?” sang David Bedella, as Frank N. Furter. It’s a slow song, there’s a wait until the next line. An interruption from an audience member – welcome during comic moments but surely less appropriate during the dramatic ending – was met with a deadly, camp glare and a single, solitary insult all without missing a beat. Job done, heckler told, on with the show.
And what a show. Time and again Rocky Horror comes round – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen it over the years – and time and again it delivers the goods. Of course there’s always the point where you sit there thinking ‘what the hell am I doing? How the hell did this ever get to be an international smash hit?’ Suspension of disbelief is a must. This is pure escapism. Well – the ordinary blokes in heels and lingerie dotted around the auditorium are testament to that.
Richard ‘Crystal Maze’ O’Brien’s show tells the bizarre tale of square couple Brad and Janet, lured into the stately home of a transsexual alien on the night he has finally managed to create human life (the titular Rocky Horror). Yes, that’s right. And among some of the most catchy songs in musical theatre, saucy shenanigans ensue. The show has never been one for the faint hearted and somehow each tour seems to make the rude bits ruder and the fun bits funnier.
This is helped this time by the return of Christopher Biggins – who can actually be seen in the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s party scene – as the Narrator. His giggly style is infectious and was a huge hit with the Empire audience. Julian Essex-Spurrier as Rocky and Adrian der Gregorian as Eddie and Dr Scott were particularly good supporting cast.
But it’s David Bedella, back in the role as Frank, who rules the roost. His dazzling, mile-wide grin sparkles right to the very back of the stalls, his lusty giggles, superb voice and cartoonish moves completely irresistible. There’s a couple of fluffs, too, which only add to the atmosphere of the evening.
Rocky Horror usually comes into its own at the weekend or the last night in town (It’s in Liverpool until Saturday), but for a bit of Monday night misbehaving, the people-watching and euphoric nature of this show was hard to beat.