Updated: Sunday, 9th August 2020 @ 8:23am

Review: The Rocky Horror Show @ The Opera House, Manchester

Review: The Rocky Horror Show @ The Opera House, Manchester

| By Andrew Greaves

If you were to ask anyone to make a list of well-known musicals, it probably wouldn’t be very long before they named The Rocky Horror Show.

Richard O’Brien’s smash hit has been wowing sell-out audiences for more than four decades – 30 million theatre-goers at the last count apparently! – so it might come as a bit of a surprise that someone like me exists.

Someone who, aside from knowing or at least having heard most of the songs, actually didn’t have the first clue as to what it was actually about.

That was until Thursday evening when I – somewhat tentatively after being confronted with some frightfully wonderful costumes in the foyer – threw myself into the twisted and perverse world of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his weird bunch of devotees (and I’m not talking about those sat in the stalls!).

I’d been pre-warned by a friend that things start off strange and then get even stranger and when audience members randomly started heckling, it took a second or two to realise that this was all part of the fun.

Apparently audience participation – shouting often-rude, always-hilarious lines in appropriate places in the shows – started for the movie version back in the 1970s in the US and made it to our shows a few years later.

That, and the dressing up, are all now part of the show… and it contributes to the whole evening being an absolute riot.

For those, like me, who have no idea what it’s all about, let me fill you in (ooo-er!)…

Sweet and innocent couple Brad and Janet – played superbly by Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton and former boyband member Ben Adams – hit upon some bad luck when, after just getting engaged, their car suffers a blow out.

After a rather damp wander back down the road to a castle they’ve seen they enter a world they soon wish they hadn’t.

First they happen up Riff Raff (played with comic brilliance by Kristian Lavercombe) and then introduced to a cast of oddballs – including Laura Harrison’s Magenta and Columbia played by Miracle Chance – before the man himself Dr Frank-N-Furter who makes an entrance quite like no other.

Stephen Webb’s Doc is sexual mischief personified and he ramps it up at every opportunity, fawning over his new creation Rocky before seducing both Brad and Janet in scenes which scream hilarity and filth in equal measure – definitely not for the feint-hearted!  

The whole show is kept together by the narrator, played in Manchester by Coronation Street legend Beverley Callard, who even joins in the evening’s third rendition of Time Warp, complete with the customary stockings and suspenders!

It’s a show that most definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a perfect homage to the sci-fi horror B-movies it apes.

The music, the songs, the dancing and the costumes were absolutely on-point and I genuinely can’t think of a more fun night to be had at the theatre!

I have colleagues who have seen it live a number of times and having had an absolute blast at the Opera House I can see why it has such a devoted following.

I might even be tempted to don some kind of outfit myself next time… although stockings and suspenders might be pushing it a little!