Earlier this year, we were thinking that 2019 was going to be a year when we could pull back a bit, regroup, have bit of time to have a rethink and redevelop the show with time and a bit of space… But as with all things here at Studio63 it’s escalated pretty damn quickly.
This week, we have had so many meetings, all of which have had exciting outcomes that we just can’t wait to share with you. We can’t say too much right now, but it looks like this Summer we’ll be doing a lot of shows pretty close to home, and also in one of our favourite places not only to perform, but also to party… So much for a quiet one.
One of the things we can say though was that we met with the Resident Director of the current tour of Rocky Horror and spent a couple of hours talking all things theatre, productions and showbiz. It was a fabulous couple of hours that resulted in a whirlwind trip to see The Rocky Horror Show… So on Thursday night, we donned our thigh high boots and as much black eye make up as we could reasonably get away with and made our way to Manchester Opera House to laugh, sing and time warp the evening away.
… And it was truly spectacular.
Frank-N-Furter (Stephen Webb) was sexy and butch with legs to die for; stomping round the stage like he owned it; Sweet Transvestite was an absolute delight and when he was revealed the audience, quite rightly, gasped just at the sight of him.
Rocky (Callum Evans) was an Adonis who could pretty much do it all; sing, dance and potentially fly. The acro skills were a new and exciting addition and really made Rocky come to life… If you’ll pardon the pun.
Brad (Ben Adams) and Janet (Joanne Clifton) were sickly sweet (but utterly brilliant) and Clifton’s voice in particular makes you wonder why she is so famous for dancing when she has pipes like that; talk about a triple threat.
Columbia (Miracle Chance… what a name!); tragically beautiful from beginning to end and had the audience hanging on every moment of her trip sequence!
Even the Narrator (played by Beverley Callard) gained brownie points by representing the northern woman contingent and Eddie (Ross Chisari) originally played by our beloved Meat Loaf brought a new energy and rockstar vibe to the role that was a big hit.
But the highlight of the show was the two servants, Riff Raff (Kristian Laverscombe) and Magenta (Laura Harrison)! Riff Raff was EXACTLY what you would want to see… No faffing, no trying anything new, no veering from what audiences expect; Lavercombe played him like he was born for the role.
Harrison, however, stole the show. From the moment she stepped on stage as the Usherette, we knew we were in for something special. Her voice soared through the high notes of Science Fiction Double Feature and yet she grounded Magenta in an earthy transylvanian tone that most performers could only aspire to. I’ve never seen an actor navigate this multirole in such a clever way, and it was stunning to watch.
All in all, watching Rocky Horror made me realise a few things:
Before you deride me for using such a dirty word to describe a piece of theatre, allow me to explain; audiences are there to see their beloved film recreated in a way that makes sense to them. It’s an institution with rules that you cannot mess around with too much or you’ll upset your true fans and at the end of the day all they want to see their characters and songs done brilliantly, with love, care and attention to detail that makes them fall in love with The Rocky Horror Show all over again. And if anyone understands that, it’s us.
Well, be assured, this regular Frankie fan fell back in love with it all once more and reckons you’d be hard pressed not to love this blinder of a show.
If you can get to see it, you genuinely should! It really is as good as everyone says it is!
Till next time, #TheBeatIsOursForever
p.s. …. pation