REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show at Wolverhampton Grand

We reviewed the current production of 'The Rocky Horror Show' earlier in its run. This review is an updated version of a previously published one.

Sometimes, when a show's been running for a while, it can become stale - but that couldn't be a description any further from reality for the current UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show.

Since its first appearance at the Royal Court Theatre in 1973, Richard O’Brien’s creation has become the world’s favourite rock n’ roll musical. It's been performed worldwide - in over 30 countries, on every continent - and has been translated into more than 20 languages. 

A humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror 'B' movies which rose to prominence between the 1940s and 1970s, the musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and knocking on the door of a mad transvestite scientist. He's unveiling his new creation, a Frankenstein-style monster in the form of an artificially made, fully grown, physically perfect muscle man named 'Rocky Horror', complete "with blond hair and a tan".

From start to finish, the show is an in your face, confident and well rehearsed phenomenon. With a clever set and a sparkling cast, I defy anybody who watches the production to not become a convert - whether they turn up in stockings or take the more conservative approach!

Hayley Flaherty (Matilda The Musical) takes to the stage as Janet, the initially timid girlfriend of Brad. Janet is a role that allowed Flaherty to flourish. With a confidence and reassurance that shone through, she was welcomed into the Rocky Horror fraternity with open arms. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Flaherty has more than settled into the role, bringing a confidence unmatched by many performers who have brought Janet to life.

Richard Meek (Hairspray) takes the role of Brad and excels. With a strong voice, excellent comedy timing and perfect characterisation, it's evident Meek is having the time of his life on stage; something which translates perfectly to the audience. Meek is an exemplary choice for the role and his chemistry with Janet - something probably more essential in this show than so many others - shines through.

Kristian Lavercombe has now completed over 2000 performances of the show, bringing 'Riff Raff' to life in a role that could quite easily have been written for him. However this evening it was understudy, Ryan Carter-Wilson who took a step (to the right!) into the role. Giving an exceptional turn as the hunch-backed man-servant. 

Carter Wilson's voice was stunning and the enthusiasm he brought to the stage was phenomenal. The audience reaction to both his entrance and his finale personified that feeling.

However, performance of the evening must be split between Stephen Webb as Frank 'N' Furter and Philip Franks as the Narrator. In different ways, each became the star of the show.

Webb in the traditional sense with a stunning, flamboyant and, at times, emotional performance as Frank. Tall, muscly and adept to strutting in stiletto's, Webb is the epitome of the role. It's a part which is somewhat iconic and Webb's performance had the hardcore, cult fans of the show on their feet in support; surely the best accolade he could hope for.

Franks, on the other hand, has possibly the hardest (and possibly the best!) job of the evening, contending with huge amounts of, often spontaneous, audience interaction. It's safe to say the fans at the front of the stalls know the script line for line and are waiting for their cue to shout out; something Franks dealt with, without missing a beat.

Franks is without doubt, in his element and put across one of the funniest, most spontaneous performances I've seen in a long time. The narrator is a role generally taken on by a celeb; indeed this production has four on rotation. However, for me Franks easily ranking amongst the best in the show's history.

This show has been on the road for fifty years and it's the piece which gave license to so many other productions to be what they wanted to be. The Rocky Horror Show isn't for the faint hearted and it's always a risk for each cast when they take on the behemoth. But, if you're up for a laugh and ready to party, this cast are a rip-roaring success.

The Rocky Horror Show runs at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 10th February 2024. For more information, or to get your tickets, head to

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