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Rocky Horror Show (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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The Rocky Horror Show still seems as fresh and as sexually controversial as it was when it was first premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre in the 1970’s. Richard O’Brien’s rock musical has gained a cult following over the past twenty years bringing punters back time and time again, yet still managing to captivate a whole new generation of die-hard fans!

This re-tour of Christopher Luscombe’s 2006 production is loud, proud, sexy and sensational and hits all the right notes.  This shw is faultless as Luscombe has gathered a first class creative team and cast to produce what is possibly the strongest number 1 touring production of recent times.

Brad and Janet have recently attended a wedding of a close friend and on their way home, due to a terrible thunder storm find themselves severly lost and with a flat tire. With nothing else to do, they follow the light in the distance and end up at the abode of Frank ’n’ Furter a transsexual from Transylvania who not only frees Brad and Janet from the grips of their own self conscious but also release them into a heady spiral of sexual freedom and delight.

At the heart of the production lies O’Brien’s strong and captivatingly sexual score, which one can’t help but tap and sing along too, helped along by the pacey and ambitious direction of Luscombe. The piece flies by in a blur of hedonistic carnage and delight, aided by several interactions of amusement and joviality from the 2000 strong audience.

Set designer Janet Bird has created a simple but elegantl backdrop which gives this musical a self assured fluidty. Nick Richings has really gone to town with his lighting design which lifts the set to an atmospheric high, with some of the most intense and dramatic lighting seen on the tour circuit.

Marc Leslie is brilliant as geeky Brad Majors with a sense of real quirkiness and banality which is required to carry off the changing of his character later on in the second act, he is ably supported by Haley Flaherty as Janet, with a golden voice and striking characterisations. They both prove able and are excellent leads.

Brian McCann, Kara Lane and Ceris Hine (Riff-Raff, Megenta & Columbia) are also on fine form, bringing the house to their feet during a rapturous and exhilarating rendition of the infamous "Time Warp." Nathan Amzi also gives everything in his strong performance of Eddie/Dr Scott, but it was the part of the Narrator and Frank ‘N’ Furter that really stole the show.

Local Comedian Dave Spikey provides us with a splendid Narrator, having a real charge of the audience and comebacks sharper and funnier than one could imagine, even throwing in such wonderfully crafted and timed gags about Tiger Woods for good measure.

David Bedella as Frank ‘N’ Furter is the ultimate transvestite, with such a toned body and shapely figure that even this heterosexual reviewer could not help but comment that he actually looked good in a basque. He oozes sensuality as the promiscuous and sexually aggressive tenant and his rendition of "I'm Coming Home" is not only beautifully sung, but really does steal the show!

This is that rare beast, as it is a horrifically good version of the cult classic with no rocky patches, whatsoever and the stars and production team thoroughly deserved the standing ovation.

- John Roberts


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