REVIEW: Rocky Horror Show, Sunderland Empire

A SHOW LIKE NO OTHER ... The Rocky Horror Show at the Sunderland Empire
A SHOW LIKE NO OTHER ... The Rocky Horror Show at the Sunderland Empire
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Rocky Horror Show, Sunderland Empire, until Saturday.

HOW much fun and frolics is it possible to shoehorn into one show?

Head along to the Empire this week and you’ll find out, as the cast of Rocky Horror deliver line-upon-line and hip thrust-upon-hip thrust of innuendo and giggles.

Forty years after this rock’n’roll-cum-science fiction musical first opened and the fanaticism which surrounds its kinky antics shows no sign of abating.

The cast performed in front of a suspender-clad, basque-wearing audience who heckled the narrator with tongue-in-cheek glee.

This was a show peppered with stand-out performances, but Millfield-born Ben Forster’s star shone most brightly of all, performing in his home town for the first time since winning ITV’s Superstar.

The former Thornhill School pupil’s role as bespectacled Brad was a far cry from his last as Jesus, but he pulled it off with aplomb and spot-on comic timing.

His pairing with Roxanne Pallett as prissy Janet was a delight to watch as they unravel from geek chic couple to slinking about the stage in stilettos alongside irrepressible Frank-n-Furter (Andrew Ahern) who oozes cheeky charm with every crack of his whip. Sporting just leopard print briefs, Rhydian proved an impressively ripped sight as Rocky, displaying the flamboyancy which made him a stand-out star on the X Factor.

Amid all the camp silliness and sexiness, there is a moral to the story about throwing caution to the wind, breaking the mould and being yourself. It’s an idea that proved infectious and by the end of the show no one could resist the urge to do the Time Warp – I even spotted the mayor and mayoress putting their hands on their hips and moving their feet in time.

Here’s to another 40 years.

Twitter: @sunechokaty