Last night (January 23) marked 2024’s first production of The Rocky Horror Show at Manchester Opera House, and my gosh, was it fabulous. The classic story of Brad and Janet, prudish lovers who stumble across Dr. Frank’n’Furter’s castle, filled with strange characters and pure debauchery, is brought back to life with sequins and suspenders, just as Rocky is given life in the lab.
The legendary rock ‘n’ roll musical makes a comeback in Manchester after several successful runs Time Warping through town, now in the midst of a huge world tour. Audiences are asked to leave any hang-ups at the door and join in a party like no other, dressing up (if you’re brave enough) and throwing caution to the wind with dancing, singing and heckling encouraged.
There is no more fun and raucous audience to be a part of than that experiencing The Rocky Horror Show, where there is zero judgement, and iconic songs to join in with including Sweet Transvestite, Touch Me and, of course, the iconic, pelvic thrusting Time Warp.
The main performance from Stephen Webb as Frank’n’Furter is completely astounding, commanding attention at all times with incredible Tim Curry-esque quirks and a breathtaking voice, never mind the ability to pull off the entire show in heels and fishnets.
Performances from fellow members of the small cast is crucial in the effectiveness of the show, and particular mention should go to Darcy Finden (Columbia) and Ben Westhead (Rocky) who, along with the rest of the cast, make The Rocky Horror Show the hearty, sexy show that it is.
We would be remise not to mention Philip Franks, who pulls the show together, threading the narrative as narrator, adding his own personal quips as he goes. This veteran actor, famous for roles in the likes of Heartbeat, Absolutely Fabulous and The Darling Buds of May, provides a steady and entertaining presence throughout, and isn’t opposed to joining in on some more raucous fun – he may or may not reveal suspenders and fishnets under an unsuspecting suit…
The Rocky Horror Show is a total joy, and everyone should experience it at least once. Give in to your deepest, darkest pleasures and, as Frank’n’Furter famously says: don’t dream it, be it.
You can grab tickets here for The Rocky Horror Show at Manchester Opera House, running only until Sunday 28 January.