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“Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show”…Oh, The Horror!

January 8, 2011
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Event: Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show”
Venue: Esplanade Theatre
Run: 5th Jan – 16th Jan 2011

Raunchy B-Movie Meets Musical Theatre

Perhaps it’s because it was a Friday night, and that’s why there was a full turnout at the Esplanade Theatre for Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show”, despite a relative lack of publicity and the rather steep ticket prices.

Apart from the fair number of local theatre celebrities spotted, it was apparent that many of the audience members came readily-dressed for the show, all decked out in outlandish clothing and accessories, ready to participate in the show, as is the fine tradition of audiences of Rocky Horror shows around the world.

As such, expectations were running naturally high just before the show started, and there was a palpable sense of anticipation in the air.

Unfortunately, the sense of anticipation soon deflated as quickly as Brad’s flat tyre ever could.

And sorry to bring up a sports analogy at this moment, but the sense of letdown could be comparable to the Lakers-Heat game last Christmas Day – massive anticipation, but little payoff.

I apologise if I offend any hardcore Rocky Horror fans out there, but I genuinely found little enjoyment from watching the musical.

There always comes a point at a bad show where you suddenly sit up and start to slap yourself in the proverbial forehead and go “Man, this show isn’t going anywhere!”

And sadly, for Rocky Horror, that moment of realisation came rather early, at around the 25-minute mark.

And the fact that I uncontrollably cracked a little smile when the curtains came down on the first act at the 50-minute mark (which is really early compared to a full-length musical) only confirmed my suspicions that I was in for a long night.

Don’t get me wrong, the performers were brilliant.

I thought the acting was commendable, and if I had to pick out some of the great voices, it would be “The Usherette” (Kara Lane), “Dr Frank-n-Furter” (Juan Jackson) and especially “Riff Raff” (Kristian Lavercombe), whose limitless range reminded me of Adam Lambert and timbre of voice reminded me of Axl Rose.

(If ever Guns N’ Roses needs a new lead singer, I reckon he would be a shoo-in. Serious vocals, I tell ya.)

The sets were beautiful, and incorporated some nifty ideas as well.

I loved how they rolled the increasingly larger models of the castle across the stage at the beginning of the show to simulate Brad and Janet’s approach toward the castle.

And the monitor screens effects in the second act were very clever as well.

Many of the songs in the musical were highly enjoyable, and I dare say that “The Rocky Horror Show” boasts of a set of songs which are better than a number of other musicals out there.

The main issue I had with the musical was that the story was very weak.

There is a good reason why books usually state that a proper musical plot should have a protagonist with an overarching ambition, and in Rocky Horror that was no such thing.

It started with the couple of Brad and Jenny who get lost and end up in the castle, and then the story shifts to a certain cross-dressing Dr Frank-n-Furter and his band of bizarre characters…and after awhile you just start to ask yourself what the whole point of the story is.

I’m a big story-person, so musicals with weak storylines tend to make me feel a bit unsatisfied.

And don’t get me started on the whole saga about the aliens and their laser ray guns and all that stuff towards the end of the show. (*shakes head*)

One more point to add was that the book itself wasn’t particularly outstanding, with mostly forgettable lines and few that genuinely made the audience laugh.

I mean, truth be told, the sight of the near-perfect physique of “Rocky” (Lucas Glover) might have perhaps given almost all of the female members in the audience close to their money’s worth, not to mention the immensely gratifying participatory song-and-dance segment at the encore, which pleased not a few people, especially those who came dressed up for it.

And the fact that the cast received three curtain calls must have been a clear indication of the audience’s level of satisfaction.

So I guess it leaves one to conclude that “The Rocky Horror Show” ensures ample entertainment if one is looking for a visual spectacle (of the risqué variety) coupled with solid rock and roll music.

However, plot-wise, it leaves plenty to be desired.

And to be cheeky about it, I suppose you could say that the word “horror” in the show’s title isn’t exactly misplaced…depending on how you choose to interpret it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2011 8:39 pm

    What a shame, you seem to have missed the point entirely!

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  1. Review: “Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show”…Oh, The Horror! « Random Musings

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