The Rocky Horror Show

Reviewed by Nicky Jones

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Manchester’s Opera House re-opening week has been filled with glitz, glamour and fabulous fancy dress – the raucous Rocky Horror Show is back in town on Manchester Pride week!

As we headed into the venue surrounded by fishnet stockings, French maid’s outfits and copious amounts of sparkle, it was certain we were in for an incredible night of entertainment.

Rapidly heading towards its 50th anniversary, cult phenomenon The Rocky Horror Show is still as popular as ever. Even before the show began the audience erupted in cheers and applause, as the best-dressed audience member stole the limelight – entering the auditorium in his very own fabulous Frank-N-Furter costume.

The show begins with high energy from the audience, as the opening number Science Fiction/Double Feature proved a big hit. The story begins with Janet (Hayley Flaherty) and Brad (Ore Oduba)’s day not really going as planned, as the prim and proper couple break down in their car and attempt to seek help at the creepy castle two miles down the road. Considering all they wanted to do was borrow a phone, the pair get a lot more than they bargained for.

The show really kicks in once we meet Frank-N-Furter (Stephen Webb) and the full ensemble – everybody was up dancing and singing along within the first 30 minutes of the show. There was no waiting for the inevitable Time Warp curtain call here! The audience also built up a gorgeous atmosphere during Brad and Janet’s A Light Over at the Frankenstein Place, taking out their phone torches and glow sticks out for the number.

A stand-out performance comes from Narrator – Philip Franks. His quick wit, cheeky jokes and comedic timing had the audience shouting out heckles from his first line, and his jokes rely on an equally quick-witted loyal audience playing along with him. He did not get caught out once, and he gave it back as quick as he got it!

The Time Warp arrived in the show much earlier than I expected, and it had the whole auditorium up and dancing. Frank-N-Furter’s entrance was another stand out moment, with Sweet Transvestite being lapped up by the audience. It was raunchy, sassy and vocally powerful.

The creative team have done a superb job to create such a visually stunning show, from the set to the costumes. The set transitions beautifully from rainy windswept roads to the castle interior, and each one sets the scene perfectly. The costumes have a modern twist, but keep a close match to the character’s classic outfits from the original 1975 film. All of the costumes are clearly well loved throughout the show’s loyal fanbase, with some remarkable fancy dress being showcased within the auditorium and all over the cities bars following the show, I’m sure.

This show is a guaranteed party which features many timeless classics, including the show-stopping Time Warp. Catch The Rocky Horror Show in Manchester until Sunday 29th August – it’s the perfect way to start your Pride weekend! Tickets available here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-rocky-horror-show/opera-house-manchester/

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.