Rocky Horror

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Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Walking through Spinningfields surrounded by swathes of burly blokes in stockings and suspenders on a foggy January night can mean only one thing…Rocky Horror is back in town!

An incredible 46 years since it first opened, Richard O’Brien’s cult classic shows no sign of age as this fresh and feisty production bursts into vibrant life. There’s an electricity in the air as from the minute the lights go down as usherette Laura Harrison introduces the show in unique Ricky Horror style.

After running into a spot of car trouble conservative kids Brad (Ben Adams) and Janet (Joanne Clifton) end up seeking help at a creepy castle in the middle of nowhere. This is where the fun well and truly begins as the virginal duo meet Frank N Furter and his debauched servants for a night they’ll never forget.

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Guiding us through the mayhem is Corrie’s Beverley Callard in the role of Narrator; she gives as good as she gets with the notoriously sharp audience heckling and the love Manchester has for her is wonderful to see.

Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton as Brad and Janet are superbly cast. The duo who recently starred in Flashdance together and only this week announced they’ve written their own musical really are a match made in musical heaven. Their chemistry is electric as they change from innocent stiffs to naughty nymphs; with strong acting skills and great comedic timing not to mention powerful voices, their transformation will thrill the most diehard of Rocky Horror fans.

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Stephen Webb whips the audience into a frenzy with his fabulously flamboyant Frank N Furter, the antici………pation for his entrance brings squeals of delight as he struts round the stage with ultimate sass. Special mention must also go to Kristian Lavercome, as Rif Raf, Laura Harrison as Magenta, Miracle Chance as Columbia, Callum Evans as Rocky and Ross Chisari as Eddie/Dr Scott each shine in their roles bringing this production to the next level and complementing the leads perfectly.

Set designer Hugh Durrant wraps the stage in a giant celluloid movie reel which is lit to perfection by Nick Richings dynamic lighting while Nathan M Wright’s choreography feels fresh and inspired.

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The songs are catchy and some of the biggest ear worms you’ll ever hear while the story is so brilliantly bonkers you’ll be kept entertained from start to finish. With a superb cast and a chance to leap up mid-way through Act I and do The Time Warp you really can’t go wrong.

Frivolous, flirty and a whole lot of fun! Catch Rocky Horror show at the Opera House until Saturday 26th January tickets available here.

 

Interview | Joanne Clifton talks Rocky Horror

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Professional dancer, singer and actress Joanne Clifton is quickly gaining a strong reputation as one of the most versatile performers in the business as she continues to win rave reviews for her musical theatre performances. After appearing in Manchester recently as both Milly in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Alex in the iconic Flashdance, she’s now back to do The Time Warp at Manchester’s Opera House alongside her Flashdance co-star Ben Adams in The Rocky Horror Picture Show which opens tonight in the city.

We caught up with Joanne ahead of opening night to hear a little more.

Welcome back to Manchester Joanne, what a fun show to return with!

Absolutely, I am having so much fun it’s the craziest show to work on and I’m so excited to be back in Manchester, I can’t wait to perform and get back to my favourite places like Albert Schloss and Australasia too. I have really come to love Manchester, when I was doing Strictly with Ore I was training up here in Manchester and came to really love the city and he showed me so many amazing places. Plus working on this show is just so much fun, I really didn’t know much about it at all before I auditioned and I’ve come to love it so much.

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I guess you danced The Time Warp many times in your dance career, how does it feel performing it on stage in such an iconic show?

It’s brilliant, we get such a buzz from the audience too, I’ve probably been performing the Timewarp every Halloween since I was a little girl without every really knowing what it was so to perform it on stage with this incredible company is just wonderful. It’s such a loved show.

It certainly is a show which has cult following, how has that experience been for you?

In rehearsals our director Christopher Luscombe had told us to expect shouting out and gave examples of what we can expect at the usual parts where people shout out which we all found so funny but then when you are out of the rehearsal room and have a theatre full of people shouting out different things at unexpected times it’s something else. That’s what really makes this show so special, its fan base is amazing. Just looking out to the audience and seeing all the effort people have made and the different costumes they’re wearing, seeing different people dressed as your character and so many others is brilliant. I’ve noticed after seeing people being so daring with their costumes I’ve started getting a bit more daring with my clothes for press nights and things.

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Do you think the fact people can be adventurous and a bit more daring is part of the shows timeless appeal?

Yes, I think the message of just being who you want to be really is what we all want, what we’re all striving for and that message really speaks to people.

How is it working with Ben Adams again?

It’s great, we’re best mates so I knew we’d have loads of fun, we had a great time doing Flashdance and now this, it’s almost like we come as a package. We recorded a song from Flashdance which did really well and now we’ve recorded Damn It, Janet from Rocky Horror which is available on Spotify and Itunes, we’re also writing a musical together which we’re really excited about.

Your brother Kevin is about to star in Rock of Ages which we had in Manchester recently have you offered him any advice?

Not really advice as such but Kevin decided he wanted to try musical theatre after seeing how happy starring in shows has made me, we’ve both been performers from such a young age and we love doing that. Kevin had his first rehearsal this week and he couldn’t wait to ring me and tell me how much he loved it. It’s something that makes me so happy and seeing that convinced him to give it a try too.

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show tours the UK until 2nd November 2019. For tickets and venues visit http://www.rockyhorror.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Legally Blonde

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

High energy, fizzing with fabulousness and full of heart Legally Blonde bursts onto the Palace theatre stage this week for the final stop of the current UK tour.

Based on the 2001 film starring Reece Witherspoon which later became an award winning Broadway musical, Legally Blonde continues to be a massive crowd pleaser with every audience member up on their feet by the end of the show.

Dumped by law student boyfriend Warner for not being a serious enough girlfriend, Elle decides to take matters into her own hands and sets about gaining a place of her own at Harvard Law School in a bid to prove she is the perfect accessory.

The tongue-in-cheek innocence of the story ensure this camp, bright and fluffy production raises smile after smile while never taking itself too seriously.

Lucie Jones bursts with personality as the Malibu marvel, with great comedic timing and a voice that packs a punch her goofy but smart Elle proves her status as a musical theatre star is secured.

Rita Simons excels as Paulette, fun and feisty she ensures the loveable hairdresser gets her moment of glory with snake-hipped UPS guy Kyle, played superbly by Ben Harlow.

Special mention must also go to Laura Harrison as Vivienne and Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham, both shine in their respective roles, with Petrovna’s skills with a skipping rope during Whipped Into Shape simply mind-boggling!

Director and choreographer Anthony Williams ensures this is a production bursting with energy, enthusiasm and most of all fun. There! Right There! Being a real highlight of Act II and further cementing Legally Blonde as a kitsch, camp couple of hours of perfectly pink uplifting escapism.

With a winning energy this pink princess succeeds against the odds to find her own perfect prince and sends a reminder about the importance of sisterhood that is more than just skin-deep.

On at the Palace theatre until Saturday 30th June tickets available here.