The sensation that is the Rocky Horror Show, created by Richard O’Brien, first captivated audiences in 1973 when it opened in London. Inspired by the B-rate movies O’Brien enjoyed at the time —as reflected in the ever catchy ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ opening number— it has resonated with many sci-fi loving rock n roll kin through the years. And it’s still time-warping even now with audiences indulging in the South African staging at the Artscape Opera House.
With but a scenic nod to the Rocky Horror Picture Show iconic cult film that spawned from the original musical hit, this audacious production, which celebrates the essence of O’Brien’s original vision, is more randy than racy in its cartoonish staging and performance style. If described in one word, it would be ‘CHEEKY’. Much like the movies this parody pays homage to, it speaks to the time of its classic creation, avoiding the frills of modern theatre, in taking you on a strange journey.
Craig Urbani as the dubiously delicious Frank N Furter steals the spotlight, leaving you wanting to exclaim in unison with Columbia and Magenta, ‘MORE MORE MORE!’ He’s truly a sweet transvestite in performance quality and stage presence, and cleverly plays to subtext (and not necessarily the overt menace) of this galactic pleasure-seeker.
Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff and Jarryd Nurden as Rocky play well to the expectation of their characters, while the Phantoms add a vibrancy to the overall outrageous production. As the narrator, Kate Normington is all charm and tension-prophet with the intellectual air that reminds of the picture show criminologist in impact.
This being my first time seeing Didintle Khunou perform, she made a great impression. Her theatre journey is one I will follow with great interest. She is an absolute delight in the role of Janet, exploring the innocence lost, naughty but nice traits of her character.
The show itself may be nearing 50 years in age —with its alternative pantomime take on B-rate horror and sci-fi rooted in 1930s to 1960s pictures— yet its fun and frightfully witty approach to themes of sexuality and gender identity resonates still through simplistic, yet catchy lyrics that linger… Don’t dream it, be it!
‘Lost in time, and lost in space’, Frank N Furter sees you ‘shiver with antici-… pation’. So, book your tickets through Computicket if you want to have a time-warping good time the O’Brien way with the Pieter Toerien presented Rocky Horror Show at the Artscape Theatre until 12 January 2020.