1-6 February 2016
Reviewed by Louise Turton
On Monday evening I travelled with my husband to the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. This is one of my favourite theatres to visit as it is easily accessible from our home in North Wales through either tunnel, parking is reasonably priced near the theatre and secure, whilst a warm, friendly welcome always awaits us upon arriving at the Empire.
As we neared it was clear that many of the audience had entered into the spirit of the show and it was amusing to see a whole array of the shows characters making their way through the streets of Liverpool, a sign of the fun to come!
After collecting our tickets we were directed to our seats. We had a great view of the stage but I would imagine that the size of the Empire would mean that wherever you were seated would offer a good view. As we sat amongst all the Riff Raff’s, Frank-N-Furter’s, Columbia’s and Magenta’s (although as we demonstrated you don’t have to dress-up) it was clear this was not going to be a run of the mill play, a party atmosphere was in full swing and the mood was high.
The show began, with much appreciation from the audience. We were introduced to the story by the Usherette who announces the arrival of two of the stars of the show Brad and Janet, played by Ben Freeman and Diana Vickers. I must admit to having a feeling of trepidation when learning who was playing Janet as I was not her biggest fan when she appeared in The X Factor but she managed to turn my opinion around and both her and Ben Freeman were superb throughout.
Brad and Janet’s car breaks down whilst returning from a wedding and heading to see their friend Dr Scott. Whilst seeking help they stumble upon a castle where they are greeted by a hunch-backed butler called Riff Raff and so the madness begins!
This is a show like no other. It has a massive cult following and many have seen it several times. Audience participation is encouraged and full on through both the song and dance numbers and through the characters dialogue, especially when the Narrator is on stage. Hats off to Steve Punt who was the Narrator as he was on the ball with the quips shouted at throughout to everyone’s amusement.
Brad and Janet realise that this is a dwelling like no other and after meeting the maid Magenta and house guest Columbia and learning more about the castle – cue time for the shows most famous number “Time Warp”, of course with everyone joining in, they make to escape. They are stopped by Frank-N-Furter’s arrival, a cross-dressing mad scientist who introduces them to his laboratory and his latest creation, a muscled man named Rocky. They also discover Eddie, who ultimately comes to a sticky end.
Act 2 continues with much the same madness. We are introduced to Dr Scott who has come looking for his nephew Eddie, and we discover a big secret about the inhabitants of the castle and where they have originated from, although I wouldn’t like to divulge this information to someone, who like me is new to the show. The highlight for me was the finale with performers and audience both joining in with “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite”.
This is certainly not a show for the faint hearted or those easily offended. Although I most certainly enjoyed it and got swept away with the bizarreness of it all, my husband did not share the same opinion and in his words “Just did not get it”.
All in all this is a show like I have never experienced before and would recommend if you want to try something more unusual. I must also make a special mention to Frank-N-Furter played by Liam Tamne who was outstanding and truly gave his all in the role -Tremendous!
Tickets cost from £10 to £51.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
The Rocky Horror Show is at the Liverpool Empire until 6 February 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017