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Watch Rocky Horror Show Live - Alternative Versions.
If you're reading this, you likely already know the movie so I'll skip
rehashing the plot. This version was recorded at the West End in London
on September 17, 2015, and broadcast live to movie theatres across
Europe before airing on BBC America a month later. The play follows the
movie almost scene-for-scene and word-for-word, with one notable
exception: Rocky himself is not a grunting, blonde, over-tanned
Frankenstein but an actual Charles Atlas type (Dominic Andersen looks
like sort of a cross between Christopher Reeve and Jim Carrey) who
speaks and has some character development. There's also sparse bits of
additional dialogue, the lost verse from "Over at the Frankenstein
Place," and Brad's song "Once in a While," which ended up on the
cutting room floor.
What makes this so much fun is that it IS a live performance. The
audience yelled their standard responses at the cast and sometimes
caught them off-guard, though several actors seemed to be delighting in
egging on the crowd. After the play concluded, all of the actors
(except Stephen Fry, who had to leave for another engagement) took to
the stage for a few encores. Although its roots are clear, if you go in
expecting a carbon copy of the film, you'll be disappointed. The tone
is lighter, the music's peppier, and the cast got to directly interact
with the audience.
David Bedella really shines in the role of Frank -- a daunting task
since Tim Curry left such large high-heels to fill, but he knew the
character intimately having previously performed it on stage. Other
standouts are Kristian Lavercombe as Riff-Raff and Sophie Linder-Lee as
Columbia. Jayde Westaby tried to make the part of Magenta her own,
which yielded mixed results. Similarly Ben Forster plays the part of
Brad less like Barry Bostwick and more like Seymore Kelbourne from
"Little Shop of Horrors" - though it was hilarious watching him trying
not to break character. Dominic Andersen was awesome as Rocky when he
was speaking, flexing his muscles and doing acrobatics, but he made the
bizarre choice to sing with a nasaly New Jersey accent. Haley Flaherty
is a weaker link as Janet - her performance was okay and she's got a
great set of pipes but she seemed to take the part a bit too seriously.
As for Richard Meek in the dual roles of Eddie and Dr. Scott... he
certainly isn't Meatloaf and he portrayed the doctor sans accent.
In a weird publicity stunt, the part of the criminologist was performed
by a revolving door of British celebrities: Stephen Fry, Emma Bunton
(aka Baby Spice), Adrian Edmondson, Mel Giedroyc, Anthony Head, and
creator Richard O'Brien. The standouts were Fry and Head, both of whom
absolutely reveled in the audience participation. Edmondson was merely
okay, Bunton added little to the proceedings (doing The Time Warp) and
Giedroyc literally stopped the show for a gag that was too-inside for
international viewers. Not surprisingly, the audience didn't have much
to retort when O'Brien hit the stage... in part out of respect, but
mostly because he'd rewritten the bulk of his dialogue for the scene.
All in all, this was a well-made, entertaining production of the
show... and since there's never been a live version released on home
video, I sincerely hope this one warps onto DVD and blu ray.
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