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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (article first published : 2002-03-9)

“Fine performances, pity you couldn’t appreciate them audibly” is my response to The Rocky Horror Show which has just opened at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway. Correction. You can certainly hear the performances, far too much so. What you miss is the subtleties of the lyrics and the various characterisations in a barrage of sound which tries to make up in volume what it loses in clarity.

Rocky Horror is undeniably a “loud” show but there is a strong dramatic content running alongside the musical aspect and words and lyrics are vital. However, I understand that the problem is being worked on and hopefully by the time you read this, a solution will be found.

Having said that, Rocky Horror afficionados won’t be bothered too much by sound system shortcomings. The musical blazes through with its inimitable long-lasting appeal. Thirty years young this year, Rocky Horror first saw the light of day at London’s Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square in 1972. The following year at the same theatre, audiences were paying a ticket price of fifty pence for what was then an extraordinarily avante-garde piece which went on to become a cult show – and film – worldwide. The word “anticipation” was never to be the same again!

Good to see David Sherwood – his impressive stage career as old as Rocky Horror itself – back in Durban where he used to appear in numerous plays for NAPAC (Natal Performing Arts Council) and was a familiar figure in locally-produced radio productions during these visits. As the steadily-inebriated narrator, he is delightfully caustic.

Duncan Royce is a suitably slimy Riff Raff, with Tessa Denton as the rebellious Magenta. Diminutive Bronwyn Evans is a delight as squeaky, chattering Columbia and Tyrone Dean’s powerful physique stands him in good stead as Rocky. Andrew Webster and former Technikon Natal student Tarryn Leek are the two young lovers Brad and Janet while Peter Court plays Dr Scott. Also appearing are Dale Venter, Shanthan Pillay, Monique Hebrard and Dean Roberts.

The surprise of the evening comes from Nick Boraine in the role of the flamboyant and decadent Frank ‘n Furter. This is apparently Nick’s first main musical role with only a comparatively few months of singing lessons in preparation. If this is the kind of performance he turns out under such conditions, I can’t wait to see more from him. His Frank ‘n Furter is all at once manic, sexy, pouting, strident, amusing and evil – always totally in control of the stage and his own presentation.

Tickets R75 Wednesdays to Saturdays. An extra show on Sunday evenings has been added to the regular Barnyard line-up. The popular “Buy One, Get One Free” promotion will run on Tuesday nights and Sunday matinees.

For bookings and inquiries, phone The Barnyard Theatre on 031 – 566-3045/6 or e-mail barngate@mweb.co.za – Caroline Smart




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