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A star for B movie stage fright delight

PUBLISHED: 17:48 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 09:02 12 August 2010

SPARKLING: Rocky Dominic Tribuzio and Doctor Frank N Furter, Holby City’s David Bedella and (inset, left) Ainsley Harriott.

SPARKLING: Rocky Dominic Tribuzio and Doctor Frank N Furter, Holby City's David Bedella and (inset, left) Ainsley Harriott.

CAST aside your vanilla assumption that cross dressing only happens on Sundays, and get involved this Saturday night. The Rocky Horror Show tour came to The Churchill theatre, Bromley, this week so stockings, suspenders and gleeful sexual corruption are

CAST aside your vanilla assumption that cross dressing only happens on Sundays, and get involved this Saturday night.

The Rocky Horror Show tour came to The Churchill theatre, Bromley, this week so stockings, suspenders and gleeful sexual corruption are for the taking in sing-along form, writes Jules Cooper.

Narrated by celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, the classic original script by Richard O'Brien boldly tells its bizarre tale of sexual awakening with as much gusto as ever.

The deliciously innocent Brad (Your Country Needs You TV finalist Mark Evans) and Janet (Hayley Flaherty) stumble into a night of vice and furiously glam rock'n'roll when they stay with the lustful hedonist Doctor Frank N Furter, played by Holby City's David Bedella.

The singing at The Churchill was amazing, Bedella's rumbling voice a brilliant match for songs including Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite, all played by a live band.

The sinewy Rocky (Dominic Tribuzio) was a great addition, bounding across the stage with jaw-dropping somersaults.

Waltzing on to the stage in a flamboyant suit, cane and oversized narrator's book, chef-cum-actor Ainsley Harriott had a great voice for reading suggestive lines. Unfortunately, judging by the timing of many of them, the TV chef was often using his oversized narrator's book as a script rather than as a prop, but I'm told it was his first night.

The Rocky Horror Show usually anticipates a lively audience and people traditionally dress up, bring props and dance during the performance.

Diligently turning up wearing eyeliner and black lipstick, armed with latex gloves and giant playing cards, I was a tad disappointed by a distinct lack of audience participation.

"They're a bit of a subdued crowd tonight," I was told in the interval by a tactful Churchill manager. "It should get pretty raucous on Saturday night.

"They've had to have people arrested in the past because people start throwing things on stage," she added, bringing a glint of hedonism to the production.

Alas, most people were dressed down and Bromley police had little to worry about on Monday night. To be fair on the crowd, a good number got on their feet to dance to Time Warp and later the whole audience was on its feet throwing hands in the air for its reprisal.

Even Ainsley was dancing, which just about made up for the fact he wasn't brave enough to get into some suspenders for the final scenes.

Despite the general absence of aisle-dancing on Monday night, there was still plenty to keep the show fresh. One of the most hilarious additions to the night was the heckling.

Sharp as Doctor Frank N Furter's stiletto heel, a penetrating voice regularly inserted ingenious quips into every dramatic pause. So sharp, in fact, that I suspected it was a plant.

Together with a tight cast possessing amazing bodies to match their vocal talent, the night was a roaring success.

I would definitely recommend going to see The Rocky Horror Show tomorrow or this Saturday night, if not for some wayward behaviour, then certainly for the perfect performance.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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