While there were 'shout outs' aplenty for the opening night of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Blackpool Winter Gardens one has to be specially reserved for northern talent Shelby Farmer who made her debut as 'Janet.'
With the show’s female lead Joanne Clifton forced to pull out last minute due to illness, Farmer, 23 from Manchester did not disappoint the loyal crowds of this 1975 cult classic with a fully deserved standing ovation for the first night showing at The Opera House.
The 8pm start was pushed back slightly owing to technical issues but Farmer was easily forgiven her nerves in early scenes, the square and naive Janet Weiss soon let loose within the mansion and providing some of the most fun and frothy moments of the show.
Rocky Horror Picture Show first timers? Read here: www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/whats-on/what-you-need-to-know-before-your-first-rocky-horror-picture-show-1-9840754
Clifton ahead of the show had talked of the tight dynamic the 14-strong ensemble cast has formed taking the Richard O’Brian classic cult production across the UK for a year-long tour.
This was in no doubt with a total of four cast changes for Christopher Luscombe’s production, which sees Blue singer and actor Duncan James for the first time as the infamous Dr Frank N Furter.
A well-rehearsed audience, a number knowing most of the dialogue by heart, were pantomime ready from curtains opening on ‘Science Fiction-Double Feature’ with Laura Harrison making another memorable moment of the iconic number and giving a taste for the feast of talent during this two hour bash.
She reappeared as a vivacious Magenta alongside choreographer Andrew Ahern who stepped into the shoes of Butler Riff Raff for Kristian Lavercombe to make his debut as a very well received narrator.
While Donald Trump has been known to make his way to the scripts once or twice, Boris Johnson’s name was the one added to the big book on this occasion and Lavercombe playing some of the best one-liners of the night with great wit and spirit.
Phantom Katie Monks was top hat ready in the role as sweet and ditzy entertainer Columbia adding to the circus of the event and some of the bolder moments on stage.
Duncan James interview see more: https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/whats-on/entertainment/duncan-james-on-funny-girls-and-making-quite-the-entrance-as-frank-n-furter-in-the-rocky-horror-show-in-blackpool-1-9801212
James, demonstrated just why the entrance to ‘Sweet Transvestite’ is his highlight moment, his vocals never in doubt but his skills in ushering the audience into Frank’s world of fluid sexuality and total excess were perfectly teased and well executed. He savoured and celebrated every signature scene.
A simple set did not take away from the decadence, the scandalous script, and those classic numbers from Damn it Janet, to pelvic-thrusting Time Warp ensuring this was a thrilling night for all.
Rocky Horror Picture Show is on in Blackpool until June 29 at the Opera House.
Rocky Horror Show the rules:
There are a few things to bear in mind when you are partaking in the Rocky experience.
The idea of Rocky Horror participation is to have fun, not disrupt the show.
1. If you are dressing up for the show, don’t criticise other people’s costumes. Everyone has the right to wear whatever they wish. Some people make carbon-copies of the stage costumes, others take a more abstract approach. Some don’t dress up at all.
2. Talk-back lines should be used to add to the Rocky experience, don’t try to shout down other people, they might know some better lines, the best lines are the unexpected., especially if the cast start to giggle!
3. Don’t throw rice or water at the performers, spotlights or screen. In fact, don’t throw them all. It may be dangerous and may result in the show being halted.