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The Rocky Horror Show

From the Financial Times
by Gary O'Connor

James Birdie once wrote a passably amusing of the Faust legend, in which a pair of innocents (Babes in the Wood, the play was called) were invited to a decadent publisher's home and there submitted to various forms of sensuality. Richard O'Brien's late-night musical, with it's flea-pit Hammer film trappings and glutinously masked ushers ahowing the audience to it's seats, has the same sort of pair, called Brad and Janet, stranded in the home of the baroque deviant, Frank-n-Furter, who leads them on a merry trail of vice, round and round the theatre, until this becomes the most neck-craning show in town.

Brad and Janet succumb pretty quickly the various delightful forms of erotic opportunity offered them, in the form of Rocky Horror himself, a muscle-man Frank-n-Furter has bred in a test tube, while the whole things is larded with energetic sounds from the backcloth.

Considering the slender resources of this theatre, it is a lavish enterprise, with an arresting zig-zag lightning effect across the ceiling, and quite a wide range of spectacular underwear worn indiscriminatly and at random.

The performances are exuberant, though melodically some of the songs and tinged with monotony. (or that "we've been here before" feeling) Julie Covington is tremendous as Janet, especially when she lets her hair down at the end; definitely a real talent. Richard O'Brien, who master-minded the creation, plays the hunchbacked butler Riff-Raff, with a spindly and agreeable sense of perversion. The main monster, played by Tim Curry, is a healthy and bracing piece of vice, indeed the performance has a Gallic extravert wickedness, reminiscent of seedy strip bars in Montparnasse.

I warmly recommend it, though the audience is advised not to quarrel with the ushers, as they tend to squirm unctuously over you like Portugese Men'o'war. The management is advised to leave at least one door open into the street at the end of the performance: we found ourselves trapped in a Bunulesque corridor waiting for some angel to descend in the wake of the wanton sports.

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The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996