"Still rocks after 40 years!"

Manchester Evening News (March 2013)

Suspended in time: Rocky Horror Show still rocks after 40 years

28 Mar 2013 08:41

Bethany English toasts Richard O'Brien's cult musical as it celebrates four decades with a tour stop in Manchester



Freezing  temperatures didn’t stop diehard fans taking to the streets of Manchester in stockings and suspenders for the 40th anniversary tour of the Rocky Horror Show.

Richard O’Brien’s internationally acclaimed cult musical came to the Manchester Opera House this week and, after four decades, the show is as witty, outrageous and uplifting as ever.

The theatre was packed for opening night with Magentas, Columbias and even brave men donning their heels and corsets as Frank-N-Furters.

The story follows all-American couple Brad and Janet’s forays into the mysterious home of Dr Frank-N-Further, an alien transvestite trying to create the perfect man with Dr Frankenstein-style experiments.

The songs are well known to most of the audience who were on their feet from Time Warp onwards.

But despite the familiarity, the latest offering with a star-studded cast brought new life to the show and their energy and vocals created a superb atmosphere.

Oliver Thornton steals the show as Frank-N-Furter with the perfect mix of banter, vocals and legs to rival Tim Curry’s epic performance in the film.

Philip Franks, perhaps better known for his time in dictionary corner on Countdown, proves his comic timing in the face of constant audience improv as the narrator and even sneaks in a reference to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Despite his youth, Kristian Lavercombe makes a superb Riff Raff and blonde bombshell and former X-Factor contestant Rhydian was clearly a hit with female audience members as Rocky.

The audience were clearly well versed in the show, memorising the standard ad libs, making up a few of their own and singing along with the soundtrack.

But the inclusion of Once in a While, which was omitted from the film, slightly stilted the otherwise fast-paced show.

The evening ended with an audience sing and dance-along to Sweet Transvestite and Time Warp that rounded things off on a resounding high.

True to the original production with some new material and excellent improvisation thrown in, a fantastic live band and a lot of lingerie, this is a show that does not disappoint for Rocky Horror fans old and new.

Here’s to another 40 memorable years.

>> Until Saturday (review online here)