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  • Writer's pictureFrances

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Review | Opera House | Manchester

The Rocky Horror Picture Show plunges its audience into an interactive rock and roll musical that captures you with its pulsating music and nonsensical story.

The Opera House gets you up close and personal with the characters that carry a sentimental fan base for its original 1973 stage show, and it’s 1975 cult film starring Tim Curry. The long-running production has taken on a life of its own with a deeply satisfying walk on the wilder side of theatre. Its sprightly storyline follows the newly engaged Brad (A1’s Ben Adams) and Janet (Strictly Come Dancing professional Joanne Clifton) who stumble across a secluded castle after getting caught out in a storm. Having found the castle's owner, Dr Frank-N-Furter (Stephen Webb) the two are invited to watch the scientist unveil his latest creation, a man by the name of Rocky.

Written by the original Crystal Maze master, Richard O’Brien the horror/comedy parodies science fiction B-movies with vigour. With an unnecessarily confusing backstory riddled with quirky characters and hammy acting, the glam rock musical takes the B-movie status up three more points.

Running as our personal guide, Coronation Street’s Beverley Collard takes on the role of narrator and takes on the weight of the audience’s abuse. Playing through the sights and thoughts of our heroes, Collard must counter the one-liners hurled at her by the audience. Like a reverse improv show, the live crowd are encouraged to say lines while the actors are attempting to speak them, fling jokes at the cast and dance to the Time Warp. Considering the unforeseen obstacles the show creates for its actors, it is diligently performed alongside the lively audience and live band. Webb especially has a strenuous role of nonstop footwork performing the hits Sweet Transvestite, and I Can Make You a Man back to back in heels.

A chilly, dark colour pallet sets the scenes for the scientist’s affairs, leaving the props and costumes to brighten the Opera House stage with cardboard cut-out cars and shiny computer gizmos. The costumes shaped by the shows original stage and film designer, Sue Blare styles the cast in sparkly dresses, leather corsets and birthday suits.

Throwing everything and the kitchen sink into its story, The Rocky Horror Picture Show highlights that the philosophy “more is more” can work onstage. Transfixing audiences with a monster mash of catchy sing-along tunes in an all-inclusive story, the night of debauchery with Dr Furter will bring buried desires out onto the open in an alluring piece of British rock royalty that remains as original as its initial release.

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