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Review : The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour

a scene from the The Rocky Horror Show
18 Jan 2022

Richard O’Brien’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll musical, The Rocky Horror Show is back on tour in the UK and we invited along to check it out in Manchester, here is what we thought. 

Starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba as Brad and directed by Christopher Luscombe, The Rocky Horror Show has arrived at the Palace Theatre. 

We were invited along to the press night and sent one of Family On The Go Reviewer’s Nathan to check it out. Here is what he thought. 

Review : The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour

I’d only ever seen the movie, so I didn’t know quite what to expect from the show. Walking towards the Palace Theatre on Manchester’s Oxford Street one could be mistaken that the cast had all piled into the street due to a fire drill.

In actual fact, the street was lined with people dressed in looks usually reserved for the 31st October. Women with wildly coloured wigs, men in white make-up, a suspender or two despite the freezing fog. People love this show, and love to feel part of the action. If you’re thinking about dressing up for this and are worried you’ll stand out, don’t be! In my blue jeans and black jacket, I was the odd one out! 

I know Richard O’Brien as the keeper of the Crystal Maze (another experience you can have in Manchester), but this by far has to be his lasting legacy. This comes from the mind of someone born in 1942, first opened in 1973, and since then has gained a cult following. Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ll be aware of it.

The costumes, the music, the dance moves to The Timewarp. However, if you’ve never seen it, you really need to. Some people go to every night of this show in their town, others follow the tour around the country, but everyone should experience this show at least once in their life. 

Review Rocky Horror Picture Show PRODUCTION CAPTURE871

The show opens with the usherette singing the perfect soft-rock opener. Imagine in your head walking into a 50’s diner and you hear a song on the jukebox – this is that song. It sets the tone for the rest of the evening – it makes no sense whatsoever and doesn’t even begin to prepare you for the crazy story that is about to unfold. 

We then meet the Narrator (Phillip Franks) and I get my first surprise of the night – audience interaction not only happens, but the actors on stage expect it. Taking his cues from the regular hollering from the audience of crude jokes and crass remarks – all in good humour of course.

The role has clearly updated his script since 1973, because jokes about Prince Andrew and parties at 10 Downing Street wouldn’t have attracted the same laughter and rapturous applause from the audience back then. Franks certainly brought the show together for me, and the surprise from him at the end was wonderful. 

Review Rocky Horror Show

Next, we meet Brad and Janet, the quintessential young couple in love and saving themselves for their wedding night. They’re so sweet it’s sickening, but you don’t expect their innocence to survive for long in this show.

Some car trouble leads them into the path of a castle, and the rest of their evening is no longer in their hands, but rather the orchestra of weirdness that lies behind the doors.

Strictly Come Dancing winner played Brad to a tee and showed off his talents as he gets to put his dancing legs to good use throughout.

Review Rocky Horror Show honeymoon

Richard O’Brien was the perfect Riff Raff in the film, and the character came alive tonight played by Kristian Lavercombe. He captured the perverse awkwardness that O’Brien brought to the part perfectly, and was in his element with the audience interaction. 

Steven Webb in the iconic role Frank N Furter also deserves a mention. I don’t think any actor could match the legendary performance of Tim Curry in the film, but Webb was as close as you can get. He was pure sass, sex, attitude and a voice to match. He understandably got the loudest cheer of the night at the curtain call. 

Ben Westhead plays Rocky – Frank N Furters’ personal creation to satisfy his desires. Rocky is typecast blonde, muscly, handsome, and Ben Westhead ticks every box. Easily the person who spent the least time in the dressing room preparing for the show, his costume consists of a tight pair of trunks which leaves very little to the imagination. But I didn’t hear anybody complaining. 

Review The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour Cast

What ensues throughout the show is an insanely ridiculous plot that is very hard to follow, whilst at the same time highly enjoyable. Audiences flock to The Rocky Horror Show for a night of great music and carefree entertainment. The current tour delivers this in abundance. 

Although I’m not about to go and purchase my own stockings and suspenders, I would definitely go and watch this again, and can highly recommend anybody looking for a fun evening out go see this show at the Palace Theatre while you can – you won’t regret it!

The Rocky Horror show is aimed at audiences aged 12 years and over and is showing at Palace Theatre Manchester until Saturday 22nd January before continuing on it’s tour. 

For more information and to book tickets see here. 

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