Review: Rocky Horror Show at the Empire

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Oliver Thornton as Frank N Furter © The Rocky Horror Show

Oliver Thornton as Frank N Furter © The Rocky Horror Show

Cult musical, the Rocky Horror Show made its way to Liverpool this week on its 40th anniversary tour, drawing in tons of corset and fishnet-clad crowds, even in the chilly February weather.

With a cast including Superstar winner Ben Forster as nerdy Brad, Emmerdale’s Roxanne Pallett as innocent Janet and X Factor runner-up Rhydian, who was a revelation as Rocky, it tells the story of newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, who accidentally find themselves in a strange house full of aliens and a transvestite.

With expert timing and superb voices, every member of the cast impressed, but Oliver Thornton stole the show as Frank n’ Furter, effortlessly dancing and prancing around in a corset and stiletto heels throughout the entire performance – sporting better legs than most women – and delivering his lines full of dark humour and dirty wit perfectly.

Known for its audience call-outs, the Liverpoolcrowd did not disappoint with hilarious and rude comebacks constantly handled, without hesistation, by the terrific Phillip Franks as the narrator.

Ben Forster, whose mum is from Liverpool, spoke to JMU Journalism before the show premiered at the Liverpool Empire.

Roxanne Pallett and Ben Forster © The Rocky Horror Show

Roxanne Pallett and Ben Forster © The Rocky Horror Show

He said: “I’m really excited. I’ve never actually performed in the theatre, so it’s going to be like the first time for me. Liverpool crowds are always up for a laugh, so the Rocky Horror Show should go down really well here.”

Having performed at the Echo Arena last year as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Ben chose to play the role of Brad, as he wanted to do something completely different, so that he wouldn’t be typecast.

He said: “Going straight from playing Jesus to playing Brad was mad. I had to literally turn my head around. It was bizarre, because, for the last six months, I’ve been acting all holy and important, and now I’m playing an all-American 50s nerd, but I love the character. He’s just so funny and geeky.”

Having not seen the show ever before, Ben was unprepared for the audience participation the first time he performed.

He said: “Even though people had said it would be crazy, I didn’t expect it to be that crazy, but it’s mad, absolute madness! You’ve really got to focus. There have been times where Roxanne and me just start laughing, because someone says something so funny, so rude or dirty, and it’s so hard to keep focused and keep it together.

“It’s one of those shows where you have to really be on top of what you’re doing, or you could just lose it easily.”

The Rocky Horror Show is running at the Liverpool Empire until 16 February.

About Hayley Minn, JMU Journalism