A riot of swaggering semi-nudity, lechery and joyfully anarchic anthems – the Rocky Horror Show is 43 years old and still electrifyingly subversive.
In a lip-smacking warm up for Halloween, the audience at Manchester’s Opera House enjoyed the thrills and spills of this musical romp, where the lascivious Frank-N-Furter entertains sweet, innocent and newly-engaged Brad and Janet after their car breaks down and they call for help at his castle.
This must-see production serves up a perfect concoction of bedroom farce and sci-fi horror with a hint of rock opera thrown in to boot.
A charismatic Liam Tamne owned the stage as Frank-N-Furter, with gloriously unabashed cross-dressing, flaunting a fine pair of stockinged legs. Think Freddie Mercury or Ziggy Stardust era Bowie to see how ‘transgressive’ dressing ramped up the character’s power and stage presence.
All praise to Haley Flaherty and Richard Meek who played the hapless Janet and Brad. Thanks to great acting and singing, Janet and Brad oozed comic cutesiness and I almost wanted to see them starring in their own 50’s-style musical. Richard Meek has an outstanding voice like a 1950s teen idol.
Muscle-flexing Rocky (Dominic Andersen) – created in the laboratory by Frank-N-Furter for his pleasure – was a good sport, risking catching cold as he spent the evening as the show’s eye candy, dressed in just a pair of Tarzan-style briefs.
The icing on the cake was the enthusiastic heckling from the audience who threw in their own lines to tease Narrator, Charlie Condou, (Coronation Street’s Marcus Dent) who gave as good as he got.
One risqué set piece followed another in Rocky Horror – yet the lasting impression for me was one of a sort of endearing innocence, with the production offering a carnival, a holiday, a show about accepting everyone, a life-affirming musical about the lust for life – not just lust.
Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is touring. For details of where you can catch the production next go to the website atgtickets.com/shows/rocky-horror-show-tickets.
For information about other productions at Manchester Opera House go to atgtickets.com or phone the booking office on 0844 871 3018.