If you take a jump to left, there’s a good chance you’ll land on someone dressed as a French maid and a step to the right might see you trip over someone’s feather boa…
Which, as you might have figured out, means The Rocky Horror Show is at His Majesty’s to do the time warp again this week. And does it rather gloriously.
In its almost five decades, there have been many versions of Richard O’Brien’s show arriving at HMT, ranging from the “meh” to the “marvellous”. This one is very much the latter – a full-blown musical treat that carries a West End sheen.
Unashamedly fabulously filthy, it manages the raunch and risque elements of the show without crossing over into the crassly crude.
It’s all done with its tongue in its cheek and a knowing wink to the audience – “you know it’s very naughty, but you like it don’t you…”
HMT audience is as much a member of the Rocky Horror cast as the actors
Oh, they certainly do – which is vital as the audience is every bit as much a member of the cast as the talented actors on stage.
The folk in the HMT auditorium – many dressed as Rocky characters – very much rose to the occasion on opening night, the now traditional and hilarious call-outs coming thick and fast and perfectly timed to the point they could have been scripted.
While the people who pay for their seats are certainly part of the action, Rocky lives and dies by the people who are paid to be on stage.
They are worth every penny, especially during the massive ensemble numbers, like The Time Warp, which is just a joyous riot. A big nod to set and lighting design for making this – and the whole show – spectacular in the true sense of the word.
The two roles that make or break Rocky are the Narrator, who keeps the exposition going, and the sweet transsexual from Transylvania himself, Frank N Furter.
Spinning comedy gold out of the Rocky Horror callouts at HMT
Philip Franks is the best Narrator I’ve seen in Rocky – and trust me, I’ve seen a few.
He takes it to places I’ve never seen before, riffing off the shout outs and spinning comedy gold out of them, then going off in tangents that would have improv comedians wishing they had thought of that. Angela Rayner and Boris Johnson gags are worked in, Torry is referenced and you will never look at Pride And Prejudice the same way again.
With a wonderful voice – he could read the contents of a tin of soup and you’d be mesmerised – he makes you sit forward in your seat every time he comes on, waiting for the laughter to land. It always does.
Meanwhile, Stephen Webb as Frank N Furter is just as outstanding. It’s quite a gift to overwrite memories of Tim Curry in the role, but Stephen manages it. This is his Frank, though, Southern drawl and all. Camp – obvs, you can’t not be – but he doesn’t go over the top into the panto-esque pastiche some have brought to the stage.
He struts and sashays his way across the set with glee, comic timing honed to perfection and a singing voice that makes Sweet Transvestite a foot-stomping show stopper and gives poignancy to I’m Going Home.
All singing and dancing Ore Oduba hits the comic beats for Rocky
This, though, is the cast that keeps on giving. Headliner Ore Oduba proves not only can he dance – we knew that from Strictly – but he can sing and act, too. As Brad, he’s just great in the seduction scene with Frank N Furter, hitting the comic beats spot on.
Haley Flaherty as Janet is a perfect complement to Ore and also has one of the strongest voices on the stage. You won’t forget her Touch-A Touch-A Touch me in a hurry.
When it came time for the audience to do the Time Warp in the finale, they were up on their feet in a flash, having the time of their lives, dancing, singing and cheering.
This is The Rocky Horror Show as it should be done – exuberant, sexy, big, bold, brash and brilliant.
The show is at His Majesty’s Theatre until Saturday. For tickets and more information, visit aberdeenperformingarts.com