Interview | Joanne Clifton talks Rocky Horror

rocky horror

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

 

 

 

 

 

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages UK Tour ©The Other Richard

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Writer Nikki Cotter

Big hair, big laughs and even bigger voices, Rock of Ages is lewd, loud and most definitely proud!

This riotous rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza return’s to Manchester this week as part of a new UK tour, with uncomplicated debauchery at the top of its agenda. Right from the opening scenes it’s clear that Rock of Ages is a show which doesn’t take itself too seriously and is more than happy to poke fun at the era, the script, the cast and even the audience who absolutely lap it up.

Rock of Ages UK Tour ©The Other Richard

Rock of Ages transports us back to the 1980’s where small town girl Sherrie (Danielle Hope) and wannabe rock God Drew (Luke Walsh) have headed to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Things of course don’t quite go according to plan and despite clearly fancying the pants off each other their love story seems more stop than start as they search for their happy ending on the Sunset Strip. Add to this a couple of German property developers who want to turn their beloved Bourbon Room into a snazzy mall and we soon find that not only do they have to try to save themselves but the Strip too.

There’s so much to enjoy about this show that the lack of narrative really doesn’t matter, the cast came here to rock our socks off and that is exactly what they do. It’s clear to see why this feisty and fun show has a huge cult following, not only are the performances top class the show is also incredibly witty with an infectious energy.

Rock of Ages UK Tour ©The Other Richard

Lucas Rush shines as the cheeky narrator Lonny, his boundless energy and naughty charisma make him an absolute joy to watch. Danielle Hope is perfectly cast as Sherrie, belting out the big ballads with apparent ease while her love interest Luke Walsh comes close to stealing the show with his knock-out performance as Drew, add to this a power-house performance from Zoe Birkett as Justine and you’ve got some of the finest voices in musical theatre right there on one stage.

Rhiannon Chesterman and Andrew Carthy as Regina and Franz respectively are an absolute scream, their outrageous duet during Hit Me with Your Best Shot has the audience howling; while audience favourite Kevin Kennedy strikes the right note as bar owner Dennis.

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Director and Choreographer Nick Winston ensures the pace is fast and the choreography is as tight as a rock stars jeans as the incredibly talented cast belt out rock classic after rock classic including The Final Countdown, We Built This City, In Want to Know What Love Is and the infectiously uplifting Don’t Stop Believin’.

It’s cheesy and it knows it but oh so entertaining. With its tongue firmly in its cheek, stunning performances and lots of cheeky fun, Rock of Ages is big, bold, in-your-face theatre which entertains from start to finish.

Catch it at Manchester’s Opera House until Saturday 29th September tickets available here.