This is an abridged version of the studio cast recording of The Rocky Horror Show made in London by Jay Records in 1995, starring Howard Samuels as Frank 'n' Furter, Kim Criswell as Janet Weiss, Tim Flavin as Brad Majors, Aidan Bell as Riff Raff, and Christopher Lee as the narrator. It cuts 16 and a half minutes from the Jay album, which means six tracks, most of them minor, though a notable omission is "What Ever Happened to Saturday Night," aka "Hot Patootie," especially because the track listing would lead you to believe it is on the disc. (The track listed as "Hot Patootie" is really the second part of "Rose Tint My World.") Beyond the cuts, however, this is an inferior version of the score, completely lacking the necessary rock & roll fervor. The NSO Ensemble plays the songs as tamely as possible. Producer John Yap then compounds the problem by mixing the music low and pushing the vocals up front. The cast members include several stage veterans who have appeared in many companies of the show around the world but have not been heard previously on record, notably Samuels and Flavin. The stunt casting of Lee, who appeared in many of the Hammer horror films that Rocky Horror is spoofing, would seem like an ideal choice, but he usually sounds like he's about to fall asleep. (Very little of his performance remains in this shortened version.) Criswell, who has not previously had any experience with The Rocky Horror Show but has done a number of stage musicals and appeared on a lot of studio cast albums, manages to avoid embarrassing herself, but she doesn't make the necessary transition from innocence to sexual awakening the part requires.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: Anita Dobson
feat: Howard Samuels