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28th January 2024

Rocky Horror Show review: The show that never disappoints

Be a feather-bowered spectator to the unravelling secrets of the sweet transvestites from Transexual, Transylvania.
Rocky Horror Show review: The show that never disappoints
Credit: David Freeman @ Rocky Horror Show PR

Christopher Luscombe’s production of the Rocky Horror Show is a whirlwind of energy, colour, and unabashed fun. The rendition stays true to the bright, irreverent tone of the original show, while still managing to bring something fresh and exciting to the table.

The story focuses on the recently engaged couple, Brad and Janet, travelling to meet their good friend and former professor Dr Everett V. Scott. The couple experience car trouble on the way and find themselves seeking assistance at a nearby castle. Once inside, they discover a raucous party full of peculiar individuals who introduce their master – Dr Frank-N-Furter.

He invites the couple to stay and witness the birth of his recent experiment, a scientifically-made man named Rocky (named so because of the rocks in his head). Brad and Janet are compelled to stay the night, and both find themselves under the spell of Dr Frank-N-Furter’s allure. Before long, they are feather-bowered spectators to the unravelling secrets of the sweet transvestites from Transexual, Transylvania.

The stage musical opened in London in 1973, hosting just 60 seats. Within weeks, the schlock-horror display jumped from the Royal Court to the Classic Cinema up to King’s Road Theatre and the West End; Rocky’s success is ceaseless.

Special mentions go to the narrator, played by Philip Franks (The Darling Buds of May, Heartbeat) whose doses of resonant comedy between scenes are inspired. He plays expertly with the rehearsed and the random euphemisms heckled by Rocky super-fans. If you’re offended by satire and risqué themes, this play is certainly not for you.

Stephen Webb (Titanic, Jersey Boys) playing Dr Frank-N-Furter really does have big shoes (or should I say heels) to fill and he does a wonderful job. His performance is bound to thrill you, chill you, and fulfil you like never before!

Credit: David Freeman @ Rocky Horror Show PR

Brad, previously played by Strictly Come Dancing star Ore Oduba, is now performed by Richard Meek, whom theatre advocates may recognise from starring as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or Corny Collins in Hairspray. Meek’s delivery of Brad’s beguiling experience was entertaining but not as captivating as Oduba’s performance.

The energy Rocky emits is alive in the fishnets of boomers who have been following the picture for years, as well as the bright red lipstick and pearl necklaces of Rocky virgins. The audience’s costumes were all in the show’s spirit and didn’t disappoint either, evidencing how the loyalty of The Rocky Horror Show fans never wavers.

Featuring cult classic songs like ‘Damn It, Janet’, ‘Sweet Transvestite’, and ‘Time Warp’, this is a musical in an alternate dimension of lusty, wonderful wackiness.

I will forever encourage everyone, theatre lovers or haters, to have their anxiety dissolved by this invigorating and comforting cult classic. The hilarious and tantalising essence of the rock n roll-infused show has kept its fans coming back for so long for a reason.

The Rocky Horror Show plays at Manchester’s Opera House until 28th January, before continuing its UK tour throughout 2024. It was last in Manchester in January 2023, so no doubt it’ll be back here in no time (warp)!

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