The Rocky Horror Show

Theatre Royal, Brighton, runs until Saturday, January 5

IF YOU are looking for a crazy alternative to panto, then Dr Frank N Furter and his ragtag bag of misfits have the medicine you need.

The cult phenomenon is a celebration of outcasts and misfits, and truly delivers on performance.

From the opening notes of “Science Fiction - Double Feature,” the crowd is in awe.

And when Dom Joly steps out for his opening gambit as the narrator that’s when the fun really begins.

Don’t get me wrong, the cast are flawless and funny, the music is great, but it is the audience that make this show so special.

To say they were heckling would be too much of a compliment to hecklers.

Instead, Dom and the others interact with the crowd who are chiming in with lines that mesh perfectly with the show’s script to make for fantastic jokes - most of which aren’t printable in this paper, or online.

Time Warp appears midway through the first half and, of course, proves a highlight of the entire event.

The dance is known globally and has, like the film, taken off a cult status.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton and A1 member Ben Adams take up the roles of Janet and Brad, respectively.

Both are funny and endearing, and how neither breaks character to laugh during the later sex scenes is beyond me.

But it is Stephen Webb in his role as the enigmatic sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania who gets the biggest cheers.

It seems obvious to say but it is Webb who binds the show together.

With zero inhibitions and a flamboyant performance, Webb has the audience in fits of laughter and riotous singsong as he powers through “Sweet Transvestite” and later on “I’m Going Home”.

The rest of the cast also deserve praise; the parts of Dr Scott, Magenta, Columbia and of course Rocky himself are performed with aplomb and really make the show pop.

While the first half is high-paced and frenetic, the second is a little slower but that does not by any means mean toned down.

In a world where musicals based on chart songs and albums - Rock of Ages and Bat Out Of Hell spring to mind - are becoming a norm, shows like Rocky Horror go to prove that a show written for the stage will always be better than musicals that have a par or below plot written around hit songs.

Joly joins in a Time Warp encore and while he is reserved for most of the show he gets his stockings out for the finale and dances - perhaps not to the standard of the rest of the cast, but bless him, he tried.

This isn’t the most kid friendly show but any panto in Sussex will do well to rival this display of the weird and wonderful.

Jamie Walker