STAGE REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show - at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Monday, July 22 to Saturday, July 27, 2019.

RAUCOUS, riotous and positively downright rude at times… but, as the host of one incredibly popular television show used to proclaim - it’s all done in the best possible taste.

And that was just the audience!

Well no, not exactly, although they played their part in the character-dressing tradition of this show, but it was the cast that performed with such over-the-top style and vibrancy, blasted from the back by the wall of sound of a rock and roll band, which ensured all efforts totally merited the immensely warm, standing ovation.

Those of a certain age will remember the antics and daring mode of dress of the late Kenny Everett - who died in 1995 - and know he wouldn’t have looked out of place either on stage or in the crowd considering the many bizarre outfits he used to wear on his show.

Rocky now appears to have grown from a cult musical into a fabulous fun filled night, so it was no surprise to find sat nearby two of the servants, Riff Raff and Magenta, a doctor, a prim Janet and a leering transvestite Frank N Furter. And there were many others.

This legendary rocking musical is now on a world tour so we can be pretty grateful Worcestershire was on the list of ports of call.

It first saw the light of day back in the early 1970s and was an early pioneer of pushing back the boundaries.

The man responsible for this, and what is in essence an alternative pantomime, Richard O’Brien, says his play has had a cultural impact with its exploration of sexuality and gender identity, but insists that at heart it remains ‘a bit of fun’.

And that’s exactly what it is and why director Chris Luscombe deserves great credit for squeezing every vestige of energy from each of the performers.

One aspect the show relies upon is having a narrator who can cope with audience involvement, the bawdy comments and heckling, and still hold the upper hand as he relates the tale of young sweethearts, Brad and Janet.

Comedian Steve Punt was that and much more. Wonderful timing and a great rapport with an audience that lapped up his responses.

But the real star of the show is Frank N Furter, and Stephen Webb obliged with a tour de force. OTT, lechery to the nth degree and one of the best performances seen in this role in five or six viewings of the show.

Others who added to the enjoyment of the overall spectacle were Kristian Lavercombe’s Riff Raff, Laura Harrison’s magnificently powerful Magenta, and, of course, James Darch and Joanne Clifton’s wimpy Brad and Janet.

Joanne, who was a winner on Strictly Come Dancing, is not only good on her feet she has a cracking voice too with several power-packed deliveries.

Mix all the ingredients together and it’s first class fare.

If only we could get the Time Warp to move back 24 hours we could all do it again and enjoy another couple of hours of great entertainment.