Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Theatre Review: The Rocky Horror Show 2019

Hi everyone,

I had the pleasure of going to see the current tour of 'The Rocky Horror Show' twice at the Opera House in Manchester. The first performance I went to see was on the 11th January, and this was a matinee performance; and the second time I went was an evening performance, which was on the 23rd January.

  I've been wanting to see 'The Rocky Horror Show' live ever since I came across the 2015 version on Sky Arts a few years ago.


The Narrator - Beverly Callard
Brad Majors - Ben Adams
Janet Weiss - Joanne Clifton
Frank n Furter - Stephen Webb
Riff Raff - Kristian Lavercombe
Columbia - Miracle Chance
Rocky - Callum Evans
Eddie/ Dr Scott - Ross Chisari
Phantoms - Reece Budin, Shelby Farmer, Katie Monks & Jake Small

The first act opens with a strong rendition of 'Science Fiction/ Double Feature', and this acts as a prologue before we get into the main act. We then meet Brad and Janet, and they have just attended their friends wedding. On their way back home from the wedding they run into some car trouble and they need to get some help, but the only place nearby is a castle a few miles down the road. When they arrive at the castle they are welcomed in by Riff Raff who informs Brad and Janet that they have arrived on a rather special evening. The audience are treated to an awesome version of the "Time Warp" followed by a strong, but ever so slightly cheeky rendition of the iconic "Sweet Transvestite". Brad and Janet are then invited up to Frank's lab where we meet Frank's latest creation called "Rocky", who backflips around the stage with both energy and ease.

The second act opens up with the famous bedroom scene between Janet and Frank, which is then followed by Brad and Frank. The aftermath of Brad and Janet's bedroom encounters with Frank is that Janet is lusting after more despite being engaged to Brad; and Brad is filled with regret as he really loves Janet. Around the same time all of this is going on Dr Scott makes his way to Frank's castle unknowingly without the knowledge that Brad and Janet are already there. While everyone is present Frank promises them a floor show that they won't be forgetting anytime soon. The floor show features Brad, Janet, Columbia, Rocky and of course Frank; which features a very strong, but fun filled rendition of "Rose Tint My World". This was then followed by a soft, but also slightly powerful "Don't Dream It, Be It".

  The finale for the 'Rocky Horror Show' is absolutely brilliant, as everyone gets up and dances to the "Time Warp" in the aisles, and we even get treated to another fabulous rendition of "Sweet Transvestite".

A special mention must go to our narrator Beverly Callard when did a wonderful job at keeping up with all of the heckles from the audience, and I must mention that some of the 'come backs' she came out were absolutely brilliant on both occasions.


Science Fiction/ Double Feature (Laura Harrison)
Science Fiction/ Double Fiction opens up the first act, and is performed by Laura Harrison who plays the Roxy Cinema Usherette, and this also sets the scene for the 'Rocky Horror Show' for the 70s. Laura provided us with strong and powerful vocals during this opening number and is a glorious way to open a show.

Dammit, Janet (Ben Adams & Joanne Clifton)

This is the number where we get to meet Brad and Janet, and is also the number where Brad proposes to Janet. Joanne's vocals are soft, sweet and delicately high pitched; where as Ben's vocals are rounded throughout, which provides a lovely contrast to the piece.

Over At The Frankenstein Place (Ben Adams, Joanne Clifton & Kristian Lavercombe)
This has got to be one of favourite numbers of the entire show. It's also the number where we get to meet the legendary Riff Raff. Kristian's vocals during the mid section are amazing, especially the octave leap from the arpeggio as it closes with a very strong vibrato. Joanne's vocals are still on the high side while still being quite delicate, and Ben's vocals are still quite rounded with a just a bit more power behind them.

Time Warp (Kristian Lavercombe & Company)
Fabulous vocals are provided by Kristian, Laura and Miracle during this party favourite. Both Kristian's and Laura's vocals are strong and pwerful, and by contrast Miracle's voice has a lovely sweetness to it.

Sweet Transvestite (Stephen Webb)
This is when we get to meet the legendary Frank n Furter. Stephen provides us with a strong but rounded vocals, with an element of cheekiness thrown in.

Sword of Damocles (Callum Evans)
We finally get to meet Frank's latest creation called 'Rocky'. Callum backflips around the stage with both grace and energy, which is impressive to watch.

Hot Patootie (Ross Chisari)
'Hot Patootie' follows straight on from 'Sword of Damocles', and we get too meet Eddie during this very short lived number.

I Can Make You a Man (Stephen Webb)
'I Can Make You a Man' is performed with grace, with elements of both fun and cheekiness. It also has a feeling of a ballard.

Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me (Joanne Clifton)
This is the number where Janet begins to lust for more after tasting Frank's 'forbidden fruit'. Joanne has done a fantastic job at tackling this particular piece, as it has a tendency to creep into the high register of the stave.

Once In a While (Ben Adams)
A little fact about 'Once In a While' - It's actually a deleted scene from the original film. This is also part of the show where Ben's gorgeous boyband vocals begin to come out a little more. The first time I watched this being performed by Ben my brain couldn't quite figure out if I was watching the 'Rocky Horror Show' or an A1 concert. A fun, but an unusual experience to have while I sitting in the stalls.

Eddie (Ross Chisari & Company)
I adore whole upbeat feel to the piece, especially the chorus. The whole cast looked as if they were "having a ball" while performing this number on stage.

Planet Schmanet Janet (Stephen Webb)
This is the number where we begin to see a change in Frank's character, and Stephen's vocals and phrasing actually emphases the change of Frank.

Planet Hot Dog (Laura Harrison)
Let's just say that the lovely Laura gets a little carried away with this one, and this works wonderfully with Magenta's character.

Rose Tint My World (Callum Evans, Miracle Chance, Ben Adams & Joanne Clifton)
Stockings and suspenders at the ready, as it's time for the first number of Frank's floor show. This is when we see Brad, Janet, Columbia and Rocky dressed in corsets, stockings, suspenders and also heels. This is an absolute joy to watch, and the vocals on this are strong throughout.

Don't Dream It, Be It (Stephen Webb)
This is a gorgeous number which is performed as a solo by Stephen. Stephen's vocals are soft, with a subtle element of fullness.

Wild & Untamed Thing (Stephen Webb & Company)
This is fun, but also a very fast paced musical number.

I'm Going Home (Stephen Webb)
Another lovely solo performance provided by Stephen.

Finale: Time Warp & Sweet Transvestite (All Company)
This has got to be one of the most enjoyable curtain calls I've ever experienced, as all of the audience joins with both the "Time Warp", and also the reprise of "Sweet Transvestite".


My first visit to the 'Rocky Horror Show' was a matinee performance, and it was a full house. I was actually surprised at how many people got dressed up as it was a matinee. This was also a very lively and outgoing audience, which made the experience and the enjoyment so much better. I was made to feel extremely welcome during my first visit to the castle.

The evening performance I went too was a mid week performance, and this was also a very quiet evening performance, which took me a little bit by surprise as I was expecting it to be much more lively than the matinee performance that I had previously attended. The livelier audience members where in the dress circle, while the quieter ones where seated in the stalls. But, again I was made to feel very welcome by other members of the audience, and also the whole cast.

I thoroughly enjoyed both of my experiences seeing the 'Rocky Horror Show', and I got made to feel extremely welcomed by both audiences and also the cast. It's most fun I've had for a very long time, and I haven't felt as 'high as kite' in a very long time and the fact that it's lasted for a good few months is actually a testament on how this brilliant this show can actually make you feel; even a few months after watching live.

I would highly recommend that you go and the latest tour of the 'Rocky Horror Show' if you  enjoy musical theatre, a 90s kid (like myself), or if you want to watch something that gives you that feel good factor. I would also recommend that you double and triple your tickets for this tour, which is what quite a number of the audience members are doing.

- The current tour is on tour in the UK until November. 
- Ben Adams & Joanne Clifton are on the current tour until the 25th May 2019
- The role of Frank n Furter is being shared by Stephen Webb & Duncan James
(Source: Rocky Horror Website: www.rockyhorror.co.uk)

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