AS lockdown eases and theatres begin reopening, Ore Oduba believes The Rocky Horror Show is just the tonic audiences around the country are in need of.

“Theatregoers are gagging for a great night out,” says the Strictly Come Dancing champion, who stars in the legendary musical, which returns to Mayflower Theatre next week.

“They’re desperate and clawing at the walls, and this show is the perfect remedy to everything we’ve all been through. People want to laugh and be uplifted and to be able to forget about everything for a couple of hours. It’s all about ‘Leave your inhibitions at the door - we haven’t got time for that’.”

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In the risqué and riotously funny show, Ore plays squeaky-clean Brad Majors - who, along with his fiancée Janet Weiss, inadvertently crosses paths with mad scientist Frank-N-Furter and his bunch of outrageous followers. Cue fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, classic songs like The Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite, and Oduba in various states of undress.

He’s thrilled to be opening the tour at Mayflower Theatre from Friday. “There’s a strange irony and synergy to it,” says the man who was meant to finish the Curtains tour at the venue last year when the pandemic forced theatres to close.

“My mum was going to bring a busload of family and friends and my friends were going to come see it too, so it was a real shame we didn’t get to perform there. The fact we’re now starting this tour at Mayflower Theatre makes it really special, plus it’s close to home so it’s the place where my friends will turn up and go ‘Look what Ore’s up to now’.”

The TV and radio presenter, musical theatre star and possessor of the coveted Strictly Glitterball Trophy was quick to say yes when the offer to play Brad came in, although he did consult with his wife first. “It’s such an iconic show and so well-loved,” says the man who has been married to TV researcher Portia since 2015, “but I thought ‘I wonder what my wife is going to say about audiences seeing me in stockings’. I needn’t have worried because what I’d forgotten is that Rocky Horror is one of her and her family’s favourite shows of all time. She was beside herself.”

Rocky Horror Show runs until July 24. Tickets from or 023 8071 1811.