Liam Tamne – Frank-N-Furter
Diana Vickers – Janet
Ben Freeman – Brad
Steve Punt – Narrator
Kristian Lavercombe – Riff Raff
Kay Murphy – Magenta
Sophie Linder-Lee – Columbia
Dominic Andersen – Rocky
Zachary Morris – Eddie/Dr Scott
Show Date: Monday 15th February 2016
Venue: Sunderland Empire
This was my 5th experience of Rocky Horror live on stage, the first time almost 10 years ago now back with the 2006 tour, then following up with the 2010 and 2013 tours. It really is an incredible theatre experience, I am very pleased to also say that the 2016 tour is brilliant. Also the first time I went dressed up as well! Much to my shock that not many people seemed to be dressed up on the opening night, also my first front row Rocky experience.
New cast members that I was very interested to see how they would fit into the roles. Especially Diana Vickers as Janet, she manages very well to show just how great her voice is from the first moment she sings on stage which was such a good thing as she doesn’t really get many songs to show it off. Ben Freeman was also very good as Brad working well with Vickers as the newly engaged couple, who are about to have a night they will remember for a very long time.
This must be one of the hardest shows to perform in with the audience participation and random things being shouted out. Some of which are expected and funny, although one or two different people tried to take it too far and shouted at silly times that did not fit. Never really noticed that happening before. Hats off to Steve Punt as the Narrator who certainly has the toughest part having to react to whatever is shouted from the audience, he took it all in his stride and was a joy to watch.
Something I was thinking about when enjoying the songs and moments was that it really is one of the best things you will see on stage. It is unique and very strange at times, but that is what makes it so enjoyable. I know every single word and what is going to happen next, but the utter joy of seeing it all live on stage gets me every time. Give yourself over to the absolute pleasure of The Rocky Horror Show (whether you have seen it before or not).
Who doesn’t want to do the Time Warp again? Don’t forget to join in and dance along (both times, we get to at the end as well). This is not your usual night out at the theatre. The biggest moment and wait has to be to see Frank for the very first time, Liam Tamne is taking on the role this time and has some big stockings and suspenders to fill. He absolutely nailed Sweet Transvestite and the emotional Rose Tint My World/I’m Coming Home. I will admit I thought he was extra over the top at times and this was a little distracting, but I understand it is going to have an actors mark on the character as well.
I was a little bit concerned about Rocky no longer being blonde and having dark hair but I will forgive them (just) because Dominic Anderson is extremely ripped and good in the role. As actors they certainly cannot be shy with the costumes (or lack of) as they are very much on display for pretty much the whole show or at least different parts.
I loved the slight outfit changes for Columbia and Magenta as they are more modern and really did look fantastic. Sophie Linder-Lee and Kay Murphy were outstanding in these supporting roles each with moments to shine and take centre stage for a few minutes. As as well as Kristian Lavercombe was as brilliant as I remember from the 2013 tour as Riff Raff and really shines in his centre stage moments as well!
I really cannot recommend this show enough as it is totally different to anything else that you might see. Considering it was my 5th time and I still love it as much as ever, I will be heading back on Friday night for another watch. Come on it seems to be at least 3 years between the tours 😉 that’s my excuse anyway. I love doing the time warp over and over again, the show certainly has an entertaining story who doesn’t love anything a little bit different? Well a lot of people considering after 40 years it is still very loved and kept fresh!