The Rocky Horror Show
Director: Sam Buntrock
Writer: Richard O’Brien
Cast: Rob Fowler, Harriet Bunton, David Ribi, Stuart Matthew Price, Maria Franzén, Hannah Cadec, Vincent Gray, Charles Brunton, Herbert Steinböck
[Here’s my review of the last live production I saw, here of the film.]
Brad (David Ribi) and Janet (Harriet Bunton) just got engaged and decide to visit their former teacher in whose class they met. But on the way there, they get lost and a flat tire and so they end up at a weird manor where strange things are going on. Not only is there a strange celebration, but the host, Dr Frank N. Furter (Rob Fowler) has announced that what they’re celebrating is that he built a man.
Many years ago, when I still did Top 10 lists, I made a Top 10 Musicals list and The Rocky Horror Show was on the Number 1 spot then and it is still there today. It has practically been on that spot for the past 20 years, so pretty much since I saw it the first time. This is all a very long-winded way of saying: I have opinions on how this play is supposed to be performed and I have very high expectations. Fortunately this production of the musical was excellent.
The success of a new Rocky Horror Show production depends probably around 90% on the casting of Frank N. Furter because Tim Curry is just so present and iconic in the role. So you need somebody who doesn’t try to be Curry but something else, something own, and still manages to blow the audience’s socks off. Thankfully, Rob Fowler was pretty much the perfect choice for that. Not only is his voice amazing, his take on the role is quite unique, managing to up the petulancy without going overboard, which I didn’t think possible. Plus, I loved that he is absolutely massive and physically very imposing – it just emphasizes the costumes. [No wonder they stuck with him from the last tours.]
That isn’t to say that the rest of the cast isn’t good – because they all are. Especially Hannah Cadec impresses as Columbia. But I really did enjoy all of the performances, even Herbert Steinböck as the narrator (narration was the thing that I liked least when I saw it the last time).
And honestly, if you have an at least half-way decent cast, you can hardly go wrong with this show. The music is too good. The story is too good. And I don’t know what youd have to do to keep me from sitting in the theater and sing along softly, thoroughly enjoying myself as I listen. But I know for certain that this production didn’t do it.
That meant that I spent the evening, and several days afterwards, humming songs and smiling. Perfect.