Updated: Monday, 19th August 2019 @ 10:17am

Theatre Review: Rocky Horror Show @ Manchester Opera House

Theatre Review: Rocky Horror Show @ Manchester Opera House

By Helen Le Caplain

It’s not often that a trip to the theatre includes a visit to the dressing-up box as well.

And not just any fancy dress garb either.

Fishnets, corsets and suspenders are the order of the day for most die-hard Rocky Horror Show fans, and last week at the Opera House was no exception.

As a Rocky virgin I had, of course, heard about the high level of audience participation – throwing props, shouting obscene heckles and dancing along to the Time Warp – but never experienced it for myself.

As I took my first tentative step into the Opera House I was overwhelmed at the amount of effort fans of the cult classic will go to to look the part, I had indeed entered Transsexual Transylvania.

There were elaborate costumes and gravity-defying hair-styles a-plenty with more bulges straining against pleather and PVC pants than you could shake a stick at.

The production recounts the infamous of tale of the day Brad and Janet’s car breaks down and their madcap adventures within Frank-n-Furter’s castle. 

Roxanne Pallett played the part of Janet perfectly striking the right balance of pre Frank-n-Furter innocence before giving into her saucier side.

Given her harrowing domestic violence storyline in Emmerdale, it was refreshing to see her sink her teeth into comic material and deliver big laughs.

Not only did she act the part superbly, but she also held her own against the vocal powerhouse of theatre professional Oliver Thornton who played lead character Frank-n-Furter.

He had stage presence in every sense of the word.

Physically his 6ft-in-heels frame towered over the cast and his near perfect corset and suspender-clad physique had every audience member agog.

Looks aside he acted and sang the part superbly, alternating between delivering powerful ballads, upbeat songs and interacting with raucous hecklers.

A special mention should go to Narrator Philip Franks who I remembered as being the uptight and stoic Sergeant Raymond Craddock in Heartbeat.

This part couldn’t have been further removed from that role and it was an absolute joy to see him performing and reacting to shout-outs from the audience.

Hit after hit including Time WarpHot Patooties –  Bless My Soul and Touch-A, Touch-A had the audience up on their feet and dancing within seconds of the music starting, making it feel more like a party than a stage production.

Be warned though, if you are of a delicate nature, The Rocky Horror Show may not be for you –  as the poster warns, this show has rude parts!

However if you’re made of sterner stuff, love getting dressed up and involved in The Rocky Horror community then this is just the ticket for you.

Although the production has now moved onto the next leg of its UK tour, it will be returning to the city in June to celebrate its 40th birthday.

I for one will be donning my top hat and tails again to experience this cult classic once more.

For more information and to buy tickets for the show, visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-rocky-horror-show/palace-theatre-manchester/

Picture courtesy of Manuel Harlan, with thanks

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