Rocky Horror Show – Manchester Opera House ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Writer: Richard O’ Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Reviewed for The Reviews Hub
The Time Warp has been a firm favourite at social clubs, school discos and family gatherings for an age. Regardless if it’s the original or the 1987 cover version by Damian, it is always guaranteed to pack out any dance floor and get people out of their seats. This was never more prevalent than at the Opera House this evening: as soon as the opening bars began, everyone was up dancing. Sure, this happens during most encores, but seldom half way through the first act! This classic show piece number is ingrained in our popular culture and offers just a taste of what the Rocky Horror Show is all about.
It’s hard to believe that it is now 46 years since the madcap musical received its premiere and this latest production shows there is still plenty of life left in this musical theatre beast! It’s bold, bright and bulging at the seams with energy. Richard O’ Brien’s love letter to the science fiction films of the 1950’s is as outrageous and fun as it ever was.
The plot follows that all too familiar B-movie trope: Brad and Janet, a freshly engaged couple are caught out with a flat tyre. It is here that they stumble on the creepy castle of Dr Frank N Furter and his servants Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia. However, things at the Frank N Furter residence aren’t quite what they seem and soon events transpire that will test Brad and Janet’s relationship.
The entire cast are on great form: Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton are perfect as the awkward, virginal all-American couple Brad and Janet who are loured into the sexually liberated world of the devilish Dr. They are solidly supported by Kristian Lavercombe, Laura Harrison, and Miracle Chance. Lavercombe gives a suitably sleazy performance as the butler Riff-Raff. Harrison pulls double duty as Magenta and bookends the show as the Usherette, performing a fantastic rendition of Science Fiction/Double Feature. Chance puts in an eccentric turn as the unpredictable Columbia, also showcasing a fabulous vocal range.
Stephen Webb has a tough task breathing life into Frank N Furter, however he more than rises to the challenge, giving a much needed over-the-top performance packed full of charisma and a certain degree of unhinged menace. It’s Webb’s performance which anchors the show and he more than delivers.
There was certainly a buzz in the air and a feeling of excitement throughout tonight’s performance, with the audience chipping in as and when they saw fit, however Corrie’s Beverley Callard as the Narrator was more than a match for them, with the audience lapping it up.
Director Christopher Lushcombe’s production is a fast-paced, energetic feast that you cannot help but sit back and enjoy. The camp sense of fun flowing through the production is aided by Hugh Durrant’s bold set design, complete with blood red wallpaper, a giant human brain and a stuffed mounted dodo head and is an absolute treat.
The show does have its the flaws: the final act is all over the place which granted does add to the insanity of it all but can be a little too much. But this is a minor quibble on what is fantastic night out and the perfect tonic to fend off the January blues. So put aside the Christmas socks Granny bought you, get your fishnets on and give yourself over to absolute pleasure… you won’t be disappointed!
Rocky Horror Show is at the Manchester Opera House until 26.01.19
Give into Pleasure!