The Rocky Horror Show – Review – Bradford Alhambra Theatre

The Rocky Horror Show – Review – Bradford Alhambra Theatre (3)

By Christine Goode, September 2023

Celebrating its fabulous 50th year, Richard O’Brien’s legendary Rocky Horror Show returns to the stage of Bradford Alhambra. Currently embarking on a global tour, the show retains the freshness it exhibited in its inaugural production at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1973. Subsequently turned into a film starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon in 1975, the production has since toured globally and enjoys a dedicated cult following. Although dressing up isn’t obligatory, fervent fans commonly arrive as their favourite characters, and audience participation is the norm in most performances.

On the opening night in Bradford, throngs of Frank N Furters, Magentas, and Columbias assemble in the front-of-house, eagerly anticipating the curtain rise. The stage features a ruffled curtain reminiscent of a 1970s variety show, contrasting with today’s high-tech and lavish musical theatre but perfectly channelling a ‘B-Movie’ aesthetic.

The Rocky Horror Show – Review – Bradford Alhambra Theatre (2)


Suzie Meadam, as the usherette Magenta, kicks off the performance impeccably, performing the iconic ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’ and sweeping back the ruffled curtain to unveil a delightfully whimsical set. Cheers erupt at the sight of the naïve and innocent young couple, Janet and Brad, portrayed brilliantly by Hayley Flaherty and Richard Meek. Finding themselves in a storm near a creepy mansion, they meet the unsettling butler, Riff Raff, played by Kristian Lavercombe. With over 2,000 performances as this character, Lavercombe delivers a remarkable rendition that steals the show.

Taking on the role of Narrator is actor and stand-up comedian Jackie Clune. Her dry but uproarious humour captivates the audience as she makes local references and deftly handles hecklers.
By the fourth number, ‘The Time Warp’—perhaps the show’s most recognisable song—the audience is already on its feet, setting the tone for a slew of timeless classics like ‘Damn it, Janet’, ‘Hot Patootie’ and ‘Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me’.

Stephen Webb, portraying the infamous Frank N Furter, seductively struts onto the stage to the tune of ‘Sweet Transvestite’, eliciting roars from the crowd. Webb’s magnetic presence, husky voice, and playful demeanour captivate the audience. Although Tim Curry’s portrayal of Frank N Furter is iconic, Webb proves to be a worthy successor. The supporting cast also excels, capturing and retaining the audience’s attention.

The Rocky Horror Show – Review – Bradford Alhambra Theatre (1)


The costumes are audaciously appealing, while Nathan M Wright’s brisk and spirited choreography pays homage to the original film. Ingenious lighting and immersive sound design augment the overall atmosphere.

With a first act lasting just 45 minutes, the audience is left yearning for more. Fortunately, the second act satisfies this desire with its 55-minute duration. The production electrifies a diverse crowd, who abandon traditional theatre etiquette to participate with cheers, lit smartphones, and spontaneous dancing and singing.

Interactive, slightly naughty, and incredibly loud, the Rocky Horror Show still delivers a rollicking good time.

Rocky Horror Show is at Bradford Alhambra until 30th September 2023


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