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The Rocky Horror Show, Theatre Royal, Brighton, until January 5, 0844 8717650
The sight of a woman three rows away carefully putting lipstick on her husband underlined the fact that this was to be a night of fun, which, 40 years on, still comes across as alternative.
Christopher Luscombe’s production is practically perfect – from its opening cartoon-like sequence to its day-glo lighting, surreal scenery and brilliant music.
The casting, too, is apt – Janet (Roxanne Pallett) is duly pretty, fluffy and ditsy and Brad (Ben Forster) just as stolid and sensible as you’d expect.
Oliver Thornton rises brilliantly to the challenge of Frank-N-Furter, bringing to the role his own, unique brand of “nawtyness”, while other stand-out performances come from Kristian Lavercombe, whose slick and skinny Riff Raff provides much vocal punch, and Ceris Hine, whose dippy, cutely-voiced Columbia is an absolute delight.
Philip Franks, meanwhile, plays the narrator to the hilt, revelling in the banter with the audience and giving just as good as he gets.
The advice this recession-riddled Christmas has to be to “come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab” – as, if you do, you’ll be giving “yourself over to absolute pleasure”. What better way to get some wind under your wings for 2013?