Monthly Archives: April 2016

Review: The Rocky Horror Show

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When you see men and women dressed in stockings and suspenders walking around the streets of Aylesbury you know that something exciting is about to happen!

The Rocky Horror Show, adapted for the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, tells the story of a newly engaged couple, caught up in a storm, and having to knock on a house close by to ask for help. They are totally unaware that it’s the home of a mad transvestite scientist, who’s creating a sort of Frankenstein style monster, a physically perfect muscle man named Rocky, complete with blonde hair and a tan.

The show doesn’t really need an introduction. As you walk into the theatre you sense this is no ordinary show as fantastic costumes are being worn by both the audience and staff. Unfortunately it made me feel completely underdressed, as I was dressed in casual attire.

The spirit of the audience was soon in full swing as the opening number Science Fictiond/Double Feature kicked off the show. Unfortunately you could tell it was press night due to the audience participation, it was no comparison to the strength of a weekend show that I’ve been in the past.

The narrator Steve Punt won the audence over from the start, receiving shout outs and innuendos from the audience and making us all fall about with laughter. It almost felt that the audience had their own script and could possibly be described as an adult pantomine, although the days of water pistols, throwing rice and waving lighters in the air have sadly gone. Whether you are a fan or new to the show, I guarantee that by the end of the evening you will be up with the rest of the audience dancing to the musical numbers.

The show gains strength from its dynamic cast. X-factor’s Diane Vickers plays a sweet Janet Weiss, whilst Emmerdale’s Ben Freeman plays the geeky (although in my opinion hot) Brad Majors, and the chemistry between them works perfectly.

Rocky is played by Dominic Anderson, My initial disappointment that he wasn’t blonde soon disappeared into oblivion as I guarantee you certainly won’t be looking at his hair ladies – he’s chizzled to perfection.

Riff Raff is again played by Kristian Lavercombe. It’s as if he was born for the role, having played it almost a thousand times. Magenta (Kay Murphy) and Columbia (Sophie Linder-Lee) are also strong characters bringing uber sexiness to the show.

But the star of the show is of course Liam Tamne as Dr. Frank-N-Furter with his alluring energy and immediately I recognised him from The Voice. However in my opinion he isn’t dominant enough for the role. This could be due to the fact that the first time I saw the show I was dressed up in a corset and lace with a group of friends on a Saturday night and I was blown away by David Bedella’s performance. He set the bar so high that ever since I can’t help comparing everyone else to him. Although I don’t want to take anything away from Liam’s strong performance, but for me, David had such a presence,  In comparing the two; it could be that Liam is a little young for the part.

As always the show is electric, full of energy with gorgeous costumes, fantastic lighting and the live band on stage gives a perfect final touch. Disappointingly the second act instead of bringing the audience to a climax, seemed to lose a little something. Let’s hope the show and the audience warm up for the weekend, as it really is a show you need to watch!

Rocky Horror Show runs until Saturday 23rd April at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Tickets are available from www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre or call the Box Office on 0844 871 7607.

 

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Review: Goodnight Mister Tom

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For someone who is never lost for words; I’m completely lost for words! Wow! What a play!

I must admit that I wasn’t overly excited about seeing this play. I’m one of those people that if you mention history to me, I just turn off, assuming it’s going to bore me to tears. I’d actually find it more appealing watching paint dry. 

Well this one time I will stress that you should never judge a book by its cover. David Wood’s stage adaptation of the 1981 children’s classic by Michelle Magorian is definitely one not to be missed.

Goodnight Mister Tom is about a shy and quiet WWII evacuee William Beech (Alex Taylor-McDowall) who is housed in the Dorset countryside by a disgruntled old man Tom Oakley (David Troughton), but they soon develop a close friendship. Tom soon realises that William needs a lot of love and care as he takes him under his wing. 

Even though I haven’t read the book or seen the film, I was advised that it’s stayed true to the novel. Sometimes it good to review play as a blank canvas with no expectations. My daughter is currently studing the book so I will be interesed in her thoughts later on in the week once she’s seen it.  

For a children’s book, it really does touch some dark subjects including mental health, abuse and death, taking you though an emotional journey that will touch your heart in one way or another. In one scene you could feel the silence of the audence as they hung on to every word as they watched in great anticipation of what happened next… I even felt myself at one point uttering the word “No” at the stage!

As dark as the play is, it’s also full of love and humour. The acting is first class so much so that you felt emotionally attached to the cast. William Beech (Alex Taylor-McDowall) was a broken boy scared of everything in the world, unable to read or write until he found Mister Tom and his new found friends. It was touching to watch as he unfolded from a broken boy to a boy that was loved and in turn learned to love and trust in return. His new friend Zack (Oliver Loades) in his bright rainbow coloured jumped lit up the play with his over the top love for life, the play definitely wouldn’t have been the same without him, he oozed personality and charm. 

It wasn’t only William we watched change throughout, it was also Mister Tom. He too needed be be loved again after shutting down from grieving the loss of his wife and child. Let’s not forget his loveable dog Sammy, acted by puppeteer Elisa de Grey. Just as in the play War Horse, Sammy made you feel he was a real dog as he bounced around, barking. It was so hard to believe he was only a puppet. 

All the puppeterring brought the show to life scene by scene. The set changes were effortless, as we went from Dorset, to the believable train station and then back to London where we saw the shocking abuse William recieved on a day to day basic by his mother, the person that was supposed to protect him from the world.

With the perfect balance of love, laughter and tears this is a must see show. 

Goodnight Mister Tom runs until Saturday 16th April at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Tickets are available from www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre or call the Box Office on 0844 871 7607.