Eastbourne did the Time Warp Again at the Congress Theatre with a special anniversary production of the Rocky Horror Show to celebrate 50 years of the iconic musical which is as fresh today as it was in 1973.

More than 30 million people have watched Richard O’Brien’s camp tale on stage around the globe – the longest continuous run of a contemporary musical anywhere in the world – which was made famous in the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show starring Susan Sarandon and Tim Rice.

If you haven’t seen it you don’t need to now as this high-octane, super slick science-fiction show, which was lightyears ahead of its time, is touring the UK for the rest of the year and is still as entertaining and relevant today as it was back then.

And even though the landmark production is jam-packed with innuendo, X-rated heckles and more suspenders and stilettos than Anne Summers and Victoria’s Secret combined, the only thing strait-laced about the audience was the corsets.

Men and women, young and old dressed up – or rather undressed – to arrive in their sexiest bustiers, fishnets and heels to watch the legendary show about the newly engaged but squeaky-clean Brad (the brilliantly geeky Richard Meek) and Janet (Haley Flaherty) whose car breaks down outside a creepy mansion while on the way to visit a former college professor Dr Scott.

Scared, and desperate for help, they knock on the castle door and encounter the charismatic ‘sweet transvestite’ Frank N Furter who is played to delicious perfection by EastEnders and Kevin and Perry Go Large actor Stephen Webb.

They watch on, confused, as Dr Furter, helped by his butler Riff Raff (Kristian Lavercombe who has performed the role more than 2,000 times), create a muscle-bound playmate for his sexual gratification.

Cue a camp romp-com where Frank N Furter tries to tempt both Janet and Brad into his bed as well as his new blond bombshell Rocky (the very fit and bendy Ben Westhead).

The performance moved along at a frantic pace helped by the razor-sharp script and timeless classics including Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet and the pelvic-thrusting show stopping Time Warp.

Webb was a very Rice-esque Frank N Furter, his impressive acting and singing skills only outdone by his stage struts in six-inch heels, while Brad and Janet were flawless as the easily corrupted couple with stellar voices.

But the undoubted star of the show was Philip Franks as the Narrator. Handling the hecklers and risqué audience participation with ease – regulars know exactly what to say when for laugh-out-loud moments – he ad libbed with up-to-the moment quips about Phillip Schofield, Boris Johnson and Prince Andrew.  

With a voice that makes him a regular on the BBC and acting chops that saw him snapped up for Finding Neverland, Franks is the glue that binds the superb production together – and gets the biggest laugh with a should-have-predicted-that-but-didn’t twist at the end.

A riot of feel-good fun, frolicks and frocks, this is a thrilling show that will have your cheeks and stomach hurting from smiling and laughing so hard from curtain up to the encore and standing ovation.

Dig out your corsets for a naughty but oh-so-nice night at the theatre before it moves on. If you only go to one show this year – make it this one. Dammit, Janet, as Frank N Furter himself sings: ‘Don’t dream it, be it.’ He should have added: see it.

The Rocky Horror Show is at Eastbourne Congress Theatre until Saturday June 17, 2023. Tickets from £16 - £44.50 eastbournetheatres.co.uk