Kieran A Wilson Review

The Rocky Horror Show, Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

The Rocky Horror Show, 

**** 4 Stars

“dancing in the aisles; from start to finish”


After first taking to the stage in 1973, Richard O’Brien’s musical and comedic spoof rocketed to success in London, before transferring over to take the US by storm. Since then, the award winning musical has hit the big screen – along with over 75 professional theatrical productions worldwide. Christopher Luscomb’s take on the musical doesn’t stray too far from the original; whilst adding a modern and unique feel to the production.

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad (James Darch) and his fiancée Janet (Joanne Clifton) who’s fortune changes when their car breaks down outside an unusual and mysterious mansion; owned by the charismatic Dr Frank-n-Furter (Duncan James).

As cult theatre comes, this is perhaps the world’s most revolutionary and famous of them all; with it’s instantly recognisable show tunes, and not to forget the more noticeable: dressed up fan base. With timeless classics such as Sweet Transvestite and The Time Warp, this production will definitely have you dancing in the aisles; from start to finish.


Luscomb’s direction emphasises the audience’s role in the show; using audience participation to break the 4th wall and spring all the overdressed (or underdressed) butch men to life – as they sit, having emptied their wives (or their own) wardrobes prior to the event. This extra emphasis adds a somewhat pantomime aspect to the show, giving the patron what they expect and more.

The show couldn’t open on a stronger note as The Usherette (Laura Harrison), who also stars as Magenta, opens with a show stopping number – featuring gorgeous vocals and a taste of what’s to come. In fact, these vocals are the first of many impeccable vocals throughout the show – as every cast member brings the musical score to life.

The Narrator (Philip Franks) performs a 2 hour masterclass, taking control of the stage and delivering every line with strong intent. As he strays from the script to lash out at vocal audience members, Franks has truly perfected the comedic value required for this role. It is clear that Darch understands the role of Brad and is able to portray that fully onstage, but he is overshadowed by Clifton as she shines in the role of Janet – allowing the audience to fully follow her character’s transformation. Blue Star, Duncan James, owns the stage as the sensual and playful character ‘Frank-N-Furter’, appearing almost too comfortable in his corset and heels; raising suspicion of his other performance related hobbies.

The role of Rocky falls on the talented, and muscular Callum Evans, as he flies around the stage making use of his award winning acrobatic skills; although this feature is slightly overused – losing its impact within minutes of him entering the stage.

Despite the few technical issues, the sound was of great quality throughout; although deemed rather quiet at points. Nick Richings has created a beautiful and complex lighting design for the show; truly capturing the different dynamics portrayed within the storyline.

Where this production seems to fall short is with the cleanliness of the choreography. With a new innovative set, outstanding costumes and a cast that are more the qualified to play the part; this show has the audience in the palm of their hand. So I urge you to get along to the Edinburgh Playhouse this week to truly experience The Rocky Horror Show first hand.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Edinburgh Playhouse, runs until Saturday 2nd November; for Tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/ shows/the-rocky-horror-show/edinburgh-playhouse/