28 November 2019

The Boy In The Dress Review

Hot off on the back of Matilda's success both in the UK and beyond, the Royal Shakespeare Company now turn to the modern-day Roald Dahl and give The Boy In The Dress, a novel by David Walliams, a dazzling musical adaptation.
The Company of The Boy in the Dress. Photo by Manuel Harlan (C) RSC.
Mark Ravenhill has done a fantastic job of adapting the novel. The script is witty and full of great humour in keeping with the book. There are jokes and lines that land both with the young and the older audience members and it's a joy to hear roars of laughter from all ages. Director Greg Doran has clearly had a fun time working on this show.

We follow 12-year-old Dennis, the school football team's star striker. After his mum leaves home he begins finds things difficult. The only reminder he has of his mum is a family photo where she's wearing a bright yellow dress. A similar dress appears on the new edition of Vogue magazine on sale at the local newsagent. He meets Lisa James in detention and she is sketching a new dress, a dress she asks if Dennis will model. After he turns up at school in the dress disguised as a French exchange student and is ultimately found out, he is expelled leaving his Dad unimpressed and his team's chance of winning to the football final in tatters.

It's a clever tale of acceptance and the message of being who you want to be is one that resonates with everybody. After Dennis bemoans the style choice boys get Lisa James reassures him that "I love putting on dresses and I bet some boys would too, it's not a big deal".

Enhancing the plot is a fabulous soundtrack of songs written by Guy Chambers and Robbie Williams. The numbers they've created are tremendous. Two numbers in particular "Is There Anything More Beautiful Than Lisa James" and "Disco Symphony" you'll be humming all the way home. The latter is the show's standout number, it could easily be a chart-topping hit. "A House Without A Mum" is a lovely number, as the family sing of their connection and the Dad struggling to come to terms with his responsibility without Mum. The off-stage musicians make a fantastic sound under the musical direction of Alan Williams.

Designer Robert Jones makes the world come to life brilliantly. The set fits in with the original novel illustrations by Quentin Blake. It's a pop-up book of visual treats. The football sequences are ingeniously staged. The "Disco Symphony" sequence sets the auditorium into a dazzling world of glitter balls and sequins.
Tabitha Knowles (Lisa James) and Toby Mocrei (Dennis). Photo by Manuel Harlan. (C) RSC.
It's the young performers who carry much of the show and it's a huge credit to Toby Mocrei (who shares the role with 3 other boys) who is outstanding as Dennis. He sings beautifully well and his acting is more akin to a seasoned star than someone of younger years. Toby shows every bit of star quality. Tabitha Knowles as Lisa James does a perfect job. She is clearly a talented dancer and singer. She is a great fit with Toby's Dennis. Together the pair sing the number "When Things Fall Apart" to great aplomb. Alfie Jukes charms with comic timing and another strong vocal as older brother John, he certainly deserves a magnum or three for his performance.

Rufus Hound hits every right emotion as Dad. He portrays a man hiding his true emotions really well, particularly as he sings about "losing life's lottery" during the number "A House Without a Mum". Irvine Iqbal gives a likeable crowd-pleasing turn as shop owner Raj, with some big bushy eyebrows and a million special offers including "three for the price of two". Natasha Lewis sings a storm and is the epitome of an embarrassing parent as Darvesh's mum. Charlotte Wakefield brings great warmth to Miss Windsor, she's the kind of teacher you'd want to have. Her fragility comes to the fore during "Miss Windsor's Belle Chanson" and shows off her strong vocal range.

Forbes Masson is brilliantly cast as headteacher Mr Hawtrey. He's stern, strict and relishes every moment as the production's pantomime style villain especially during his act one number "I Hate Kids". The character's unexpected turn of loving to wear dresses (or a blouse and skirt) is delightfully performed as Mr Hawtrey and Raj reprise the act one closing number with "A Man in a Dress".

A strong youthful-looking company give energy to the production. Christina Modestou makes for a fun Miss Bresslaw, Grace Wylde and Charlotte Jaconelli characterise the asbo-twins well and Max Gill is warm as dumbfounded Big Mac who falls for Dennis when he's under the disguise. Ben Thompson does some magnificent puppetry with the dog Oddbod.

As in fitting with the show's final number "Extraordinary" the show is just that. It's is a joy from the get-go and warms the hearts of all ages in the audience.  A roaring standing ovation of approval ends the evening on a high. It's the perfect family show, marvellous escapism. You're going to want to "dance, dance, dance" your way to Stratford-Upon-Avon and catch it.

Rating: ★★★★★ - a joyous heartwarming triumph. Sensational theatre for all ages.

The Boy in the Dress continues at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon until March 8th 2020. Visit https://www.rsc.org.uk/ for more information and tickets.
Forbes Masson (Mr Hawtrey). Photo by Manuel Harlan (C) RSC

West Side Story Review

A new production of the musical masterpiece, West Side Story, arrives at Curve for the festive season.
The cast of West Side Story. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.
West Side Story might not scream festive or Christmas but this production delivers everything theatre should. Some 60 years after the musical premiered it remains relevant, and that's much in part to William Shakespeare's tale of Romeo and Juliet that it's based on. It follows two rival gangs, The Sharks and The Jets, and a blossoming romance between one from each side.

Nikolai Foster directs this new production and his vision and leadership makes it a particularly strong piece of theatre. His vision is enhanced by Michael Taylor's bleak design. At time's it's quite bare and dark but it's really effective, particularly in the powerful final sequences. Staging the rumble sequence in a cage, making the fight appear more like two boxers in the ring is ingenious. The only part of the design that doesn't quite work is the 3 tiered tower block, it gives off poor sightlines at times and it's a lot of looking up. The design is strengthened by atmospheric lighting by Guy Hoare.

Ellen Kane's new choreography is excellent, creating a fresh feel to the musical. Her ability to convey the feeling of the scene is fabulous. Her work is a striking visual feast. "The Dance of the Gym Blues" is a magical sequence of movement. Kevin McCurdy has done a fine job as fight director, making the fight sequences look realistic and conveying the hatred each of the rival gangs has for each other.
Adriana Ivelisse (Maria) and Jamie Muscato (Tony). Photo by Ellie Kurttz.
One of the biggest strengths of the piece is the music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the assembled orchestra of 16 make a magnificent sound. Sarah Travis and George Dyer have done a fine job with this iconic score. The flair and quality of the assembled musicians make the numbers sound fresh and exciting. The stunning playout alone is worth the ticket fee.

Jamie Muscato and Adriana Ivelisse are perfectly cast as leads Tony and Maria. Jamie is an outstanding leading man, he is hugely likeable, and even after he commits the deed of murdering Bernardo you still emphasise with him. He sings up a storm too, both the iconic numbers of "Something's Coming" and "Maria" are gorgeously sung. Adriana is sweet and delightful with a stunning vocal range. She conveys the heartbreak superbly in the final sequences. Together they make a great pairing and the number "Somewhere" proves how strong they are together. Both are stars in the making.

Ronan Burns is commanding as Riff, he leads the Jets with great authority. Jonathan Hermosa-Lopez matches Ronan's Riff well as Bernardo. Damian Buhagiar gives a strong performance as Chino seeks revenge after Bernardo is murdered. Carly Mercedes Dyer is magnificent as Anita. She oozes charm and likeability. She sings and dances fantastically too. 

It's a company full of wonderful performers, there's not a weak cast member amongst them. Worthy mentions for Beth Hinton-Lever as Anybodys, Darren Bennett as Schrank and Glad Hand and Abigail Climer as Consuela who all have standout moments. The 5 Jets boys get a fantastic showstopping number in the second act, "Gee, Officer Krupke" which is a joyous bit of vaudeville in which Isaac Gryn as Action really comes to the forefront.
Carly Mercedes Dyer (Anita). Photo by Ellie Kurttz
This production proves why West Side Story is often considered the greatest musical of all time. Nikolai and the Curve team might just have staged the Curve's best show to date. Magnificent.

Rating: ★★★★★ - an outstanding new production of a musical masterpiece. Powerful effective storytelling.

West Side Story plays at Curve until January 11th 2020. For tickets visit https://www.curveonline.co.uk/

26 November 2019

White Christmas Review

With Christmas fast approaching, Curve's spectacular hit production of White Christmas transfers to London's West End for a run at the Dominion Theatre.
Danielle Hope (Betty Haynes), Danny Mac (Bob Wallace), Dan Burton (Phil Davis) and Clare Halse (Judy Haynes)
Photo by Johan Persson
The show is based on the classic movie, which starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, features music by Irving Berlin and book by David Ives and Paul Blake. It follows two army veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis who form a showbiz duo. They meet the Haynes sisters, Betty and Judy, as they search for a new sister act for their show. With an instant attraction between Phil and Judy, they agree with a plan to travel with the sisters where they are due to perform at a local inn. The inn is heavily in debt and owned by Bob and Phil’s old army General. They form a plan to perform a show and save the inn in time for Christmas.
Under the direction of Curve’s artistic director, Nikolai Foster, this show is a delight from the start. It's a slick production featuring superb set design by Michael Taylor with costumes designed by Diego Pitarch and wonderful lighting by Mark Henderson. It’s a dazzling spectacle.
Stephen Mear’s sublime choreography sizzles as a very talented company give life to every beat of his technical movement. The entire company move with ease and the group numbers like “Blue Skies” and “I Love A Piano” is when the show is at its soaring best.
The company during "Let Yourself Go". Photo by Johan Persson.
Leading the production and reprising their roles from the run at Curve is Danny Mac as Bob Wallace and Dan Burton as Phil Davis. Danny oozes charm and warmth and has a wonderful vocal quality about him. Dan has all the qualities of the Hollywood greats such as Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and Gene Kelly all re-born and in one body. He glides effortlessly across the stage and has such a fabulous vocal range. Together they make a great pairing and clearly thrive off each other. 
Danielle Hope as Betty and Clare Halse as Judy take on the roles of the Haynes sisters. Both sing and dance excellently. Danielle carries the more emotional side of the plot well, and her vocals in "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" shows off her fabulous vocal range. Clare (who was outstanding in the recent revival of 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane) is one of the finest female leads and dancers, she proves this again at every opportunity especially during "I Love A Piano".

Michael Brandon is effective as General Henry Waverly. Brenda Edwards fills the auditorium with her huge vocal range, her solo number "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" proves what a great singer she is. Sion Tudor Owen grasps every moment to shine in the spotlight as the loveable Ezekiel Foster. Erin Rushidi gets a crowd-pleasing turn as young Susan Waverly. 
The full company. Photo by Johan Persson.
The production is enhanced by a fabulous 7 piece band, under the musical direction of Neil MacDonald they play Irving Berlin's score perfectly.

This is a theatre production of the highest quality. Transferring all the elements that made the production successful at Curve and tightening it. Nikolai Foster proves again why he's one of the strongest directors around. A magical finale where the auditorium fills with snow as the title number is given a reprise leaves you on a high. With this production, you'll wish it could be a White Christmas every day.

Rating - ★★★★★ - a dazzling delightful festive joy for all ages. Theatrical perfection.

White Christmas plays at the Dominion Theatre in London booking until January 4th 2020. Visit https://www.whitechristmasthemusical.co.uk/ for more details and tickets. 

22 November 2019

The Winter of Discontent

Staged inside the Isham Dark Studio at Northampton University's Avenue Campus the 3rd year students have devised, written, designed and created a brand new production, The Winter of Discontent.

Telling the story of the public sector trade union strikes in 1979. With a labour government losing control and families being tested for money. This is a window into a tough world. Families crumbling under the strain, workers under pressure to fight for better wages. Considering work on this production only began 5 weeks ago the students have done a sterling job.

Their script is clever, full of witty lines, wordplay and moves the action along well. They've created a great array of characters and you can certainly emphasise with their journeys.

Jonathan Mansfield does a superb job as Fred Beech. His passion for the cause which leads to a divide between his partner and their baby. He carries the emotion of the role tremendously well. Libby Homer-Doyle matches Jonathan well as Rosie, she also has her own emotional journey at the hospital where she works. She struggles with the demands of nurse strikes and trying to hold the family together at the same time. That pain is etched throughout her performance.

The trio of Emily Ashberry as Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, Leanne Avery as Albert Booth and Jenny Dexter as Denis Healey do a great job, particularly in a scene involving a whiteboard in the first act.

Amongst the supporting roles, Craig Woods and Molly Tsingis stand out. The whole cast though gives great performances and the acting ability in this group of students is of the highest quality.

The student's design work is good too, the use of the cardboard boxes and litter bags works well. There's some really clever work on the use of entrances, especially in bins. It works really effectively.

Director Luke Clarke's direction and leadership allow the students to flex their creative muscles which they do well.

The students clearly haven't gone easy on themselves and this is a fantastic showcase of their talents and abilities, both as writers and actors. I genuinely forgot during the performance I was watching students and not seasoned performers.  I'm sure all the students will on to bright things if this show is anything to go by.

Rating: ★★★★

20 November 2019

The Season Review

Brand new British musical, The Season, brings festive joy to Northampton's Royal Theatre.
Tori Allen-Martin and Alex Cardall. Photo by Pamela Raith
The musical is written by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, recipients of 2018 Stiles and Drewe Mentorship Award, and it's not hard to see why this duo is already looking like it'll be successful. Their script is wickedly funny, I've not heard such roars of laughter at a show for some time. Their music is punchy, lyrically brilliant and drives the plot forward. The act one finale "American Express" leave you with a big smile on your face as you head out for the interval.

The two-hander follows the story of Dougal, who travells from Northampton to New York for his father's wedding. He's greeted at JFK airport by Robin. Tomorrow, on Christmas Day, her sister will marry Dougal's father. The pair are thrown together for a wild weekend and their adventure becomes a whirlwind of confession, frustration and excess.

Whilst the plot ticks most cliches of all the rom-com stories that have gone before, there is something magical about this piece. Tim Jackson's production fizzes and blossoms much like the romance of the two characters.

Amy Jane Cook has done a fine job designing the set. The use of the revolve is effective and the clever use of the main on-stage set allows to convey the various locations that the production takes place in. Simon Wilkinson's lighting design further enhances the clever design. A three-piece band under the musical direction of Grant Walsh add an accomplished sound.
Alex Cardall and Tori Allen-Martin. Photo by Pamela Raith.
The two cast members prove they are stars in the making. Alex Cardall brings boundless energy and charm to Dougal. He's got tremendous comic timing and lights up the stage in every scene. He is clearly loving playing this role and is perfectly cast. Tori Allen-Martin superbly conveys Robin and her emotions towards the season and to the secret, she hides to why she hasn't been invited to the wedding. Both Cardall and Allen-Martin sing beautifully. Two strong vocal range that adds to their appeal.

All in all this production will leave you feeling uplifted and like you've shared two hours with two new friends. The final sequences as the snow begins to fall are truly magical and wrap up the production brilliantly. It's a festive musical which deserves a longer life.

Rating: ★★★★★ - festive musical romance done perfectly. A warm winter hug that will melt even the coldest of hearts.

The Season plays at Northampton's Royal Theatre until Saturday 30th November 2019. Visit https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/the-season/ for more information.

19 November 2019

Festive Picks (Non-Pantomime) 2019.

With the festive season fast approaching and theatres up and down the country readying their festive productions, we've picked a handful of our top must-see picks. We've already covered our pantomime picks in an earlier post (which you read here) so we won't be including any of those.

The Boy In The Dress - Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Over at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon something magical is brewing. Based on the much-loved book by David Walliams and adapted to the stage by Mark Ravenhill and directed by Gregory Doran, The Boy In The Dress looks set to be another musical smash hit for the RSC.
The story follows young Dennis. When his mother leaves home, times become hard. The only way he can remember her is through a family photo in which she's wearing a beautiful yellow dress. Once he meets the popular Lisa James, who is sketching and design a dress which he models for her. How will Dennis cope with his combined love of dresses and football and when he shows up at school wearing a dress.

Catchy original music for the production has been written by Guy Chambers and Robbie Williams. The cast includes Rufus Hound as Dad, Charlotte Wakefield as Mum/Miss Windsor, Forbes Masson as Mr Hawtrey and Irvine Iqbal as Raj.

I suspect this is a production which will run for years. Catch it at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon where it's booking until March 8th 2020. For tickets visit here. 

Pippi Longstockings - Royal, Northampton
Celebrating 75 years since Astrid Lindgren first conceived Pippa Longstockings, a new stage adaptation arrives in a Made in Northampton production.

Nine-year-old Pippi moves to a new home with her monkey and horse but without any parents or rules, she brings chaos, confusion and mischief to an ordinary town. Pippi takes charge of her own adventures with two new friends, Tommy and Annika, what else would you expect from the daughter of a swashbuckling pirate captain?
This epic musical adventure is adapted for the stage by Mike Akers and composed by Stu Barker. It's directed by The Wardrobe Ensemble's Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton. Actress Emily-Mae will lead the company as Pippi.

Pippi Longstockings runs at the Royal Theatre in Northampton from 10th to 31st December 2019. For tickets visit here. 

West Side Story - Curve, Leicester
Curve in Leicester continues its tradition of Made at Curve festive productions with a new staging of the classic musical West Side Story.

The musical inspired by William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet is directed by Curve's artistic director Nikolai Foster and features brand new choreography by Ellen Kane.
The cast of West Side Story. Photo by Ellie Kurttz
Filled with timeless numbers including America, I Feel Pretty, Tonight and Something's Coming which will be brought to life by a cast of 20, led by Jamie Muscato as Tony and Adriana Ivelisse as Maria.

Full of passion, drama, iconic music and dazzling choreography a trip to the Curve to see this new production is a must.

West Side Story runs from November 23rd 2019 till January 11th 2020. For tickets visit here.

Guys and Dolls - The Crucible, Sheffield
In Sheffield, they're gearing up for a new production of Guys and Dolls.

The classic musical tells the story of Sky Masterton who to settle a bet pursues straight-laced Sergeant Sarah Brown, only to fall madly in love with her.
The high energy musical includes the numbers Luck Be A Lady, Guys and Dolls and the irresistible Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat.

This new production is directed by Robert Hastie and features choreography by Matt Flint. The cast is led by Kadiff Kirwan as Sky Masterton, Alex Young as St Sarah Brown, Martin Marquez as Nathan Detroit and Natalie Casey as Miss Adelaide.

Guys and Dolls runs at the Crucible in Sheffield from December 7th 2019 till January 18th 2020. For tickets visit here. 

Amelie - The Other Palace, London
The magical production of Amelie transfers to London's The Other Palace following it's UK tour.

A musical based on the five-time Oscar-nominated movie follows dreamer Amelie who lives quietly in the world but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her but when a chance of love comes her way, Amelie realises she'll have to risk everything and say what's in her heart.
The touring company of Amelie. Photo by Pamela Raith.
The UK production which features hugely talented actor-musicians dazzles with Parisian delight. Led by the extraordinary Audrey Brisson as Amelie and Chris Jared as Nino. With music by Daniel Messe and Nathan Tysen and is directed by Michael Fentiman.

We reviewed the show out on tour and gave it a rave 5-star review and we haven't stopped talking about the show since. Read our thoughts here.

Amelie opens at The Other Palace on November 29th and plays till February 2nd. For tickets visit here.

White Christmas - Dominion Theatre, London
Following its successful run at Curve last Christmas the Made at Curve production of White Christmas has transferred to London's West End at the Dominion Theatre.

Nikolai Foster's production of Irving Berlin's timeless musical features dazzling choreography by Stephen Mear. The company is led by Danny Mac as Bob Wallace, Dan Burton as Phil Davis, Danielle Hope as Betty Haynes and Clare Halse as Judy Haynes.
A treat for the entire family which we saw last year and raved about. It's well deserving of it's West End transfer.

White Christmas plays at London's Dominion Theatre until 4th January 2020. For tickets visit here.

Nativity The Musical - Touring and Eventim Apollo, London.
Debbie Isitt's stage adaptation of her original Nativity movie has been so popular that this year it returns for the third year running.

Following the Coventry primary school of St Bernadette's. Mr Maddens, who hates Christmas after being dumped by his girlfriend who left him to follow her Hollywood dreams, is chosen to direct the Nativity. He meets childhood friend and fellow primary school teacher and lies about Hollywood coming over to Coventry to capture the Nativity and turn it into a movie. When Mr Poppy overhears he spreads the news and excitement builds. It's up the Mr Maddens and the children to save the day and stage a Nativity that Hollywood would be proud of.
Scott Paige (centre) as Mr Poppy.
The show is currently out touring led by Scott Paige as Mr Poppy, Scott Garnham as Mr Maddens and Ashleigh Gray as Jennifer Lore. When the production opens in London Simon Lipkin returns to play Mr Poppy and will also be joined by big names Danny Dyer, Dani Dyer, Rylan Clark-Neal and Sharon Osbourne.

We've already reviewed this year's production and gave it a worthy 5 stars. It's a piece of theatre all ages can enjoy and will leave you feeling pure happiness.

Nativity is touring where it visits Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (19th - 23rd November), Theatre Royal, Plymouth (26th - 30th November), Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (3rd - 7th December) and Eventim Apollo, London (11th - 29th December). For tickets visit here.

That's just some of the wonderful theatre that is on over up and down the country this festive season. Let us know in the comments which shows you're seeing over the Christmas period.

13 November 2019

Kristian Lavercombe Interview

Actor Kristian Lavercombe is most known for performing around the world as Riff Raff in Rocky Horror Show. His other stage credits include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (Auckland Theatre Company), Bobby Strong in Urinetown (Downstage Theatre) and Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee. Kristian has recently completed the 2019 UK tour of Rocky Horror and will join the South Africa cast for their forthcoming runs in Cape Town (6th December 2019 - 12th January 2020) and Johannesburg (17th January 2020 - 1st March 2020).

Kristian very kindly took time out his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Kristian Lavercombe.
Q: You've performed the role of Riff Raff for some years now and over 1500 times. How did you go about the challenge of creating your own version of the iconic Riff Raff?
A: I’d already had a reasonable history with Rocky Horror by the time I started playing Riff Raff. When I was a teenager I remember getting together with my friends on a Saturday night and watching the film. I also went to see a live production of Rocky Horror on my 19th birthday. In that production Riff Raff was played brilliantly by an actor called Mark Hadlow who played Dori in the Hobbit films and coincidentally is the person who gave me my first acting job. When I got cast as Riff Raff I had already played Frank’n’Furter in two productions and Brad Majors in another. I suspect I already had a pretty strong image in my mind of what Riff Raff should be like. Of course, every actor is going to bring something different to the role, and my aim has always been to pay homage to the characters that inspired Richard O’Brien when he created the role.

Q: What is it that keeps on bringing you back to the role?
A: I love working, I love being creative, and I love Rocky Horror. From that aspect, the show has provided me with everything I need. Rocky Horror has also been very good to me, so if the opportunity arises and I’m available, I jump at it.

Q: You've performed alongside creator and original Riff Raff Richard O'Brien in a few productions of Rocky Horror. How was that experience?
A: He’s been a hero of mine since I was a teenager. The first time I performed with him was on a tour of New Zealand. I only found out that he was joining the cast after I’d started rehearsals and the thought of it terrified me. In the curtain call, I sang the Time Warp with him every night and it was an incredibly special experience for me.

Q: With Rocky Horror a few years away from its 50th anniversary. Why do you think the show is still so popular?
A: Basically, there is an atmosphere you get in the audience of Rocky Horror that is almost impossible to replicate in other shows. It has also been a coming of age show for a lot of people. The Rocky Horror Show gives people permission to be themselves without any judgement. I’ve seen a lot of people come along to Rocky Horror and realise that they have finally found their tribe. So - from that point of view - the show can mean a lot more to people than just a night of entertainment.

Q: You've performed in Rocky in productions around the world and will soon open in South Africa. Are there any differences in the audiences?
A: Yes, audiences are different everywhere (even within the UK). In general, the UK audiences are brilliant and are so familiar with the show that they contribute a huge amount to the show itself with their call-outs. In the UK I class the audience as another character in the show. Overseas audiences don’t tend to call out as much, but that doesn’t mean they are enjoying it any less. If I have an audience where people don’t call out, then I usually remind myself that the show became popular long before anyone used to call out or dress up. I haven’t performed in South Africa before so it will be a new and very exciting experience for me.
Kristian as Riff Raff in Rocky Horror Show.
Q: During your recent visit to Chester, you had to deal with protesters outside the theatre. Was that the first time you've experienced that? How was it for the company?
A: Well, if I’m honest, protesting Rocky Horror in the current political climate is a little laughable. Especially when there are a ridiculous number of things happening in the world that people genuinely should be protesting. I think protesting a 46-year-old musical was a waste of time. However, on a personal level, I did find the whole situation incredibly entertaining.

Q: You've got to cover the roles of Frank and the Narrator on this current UK tour. How has that experience been?
A: Because I’ve played one role for such a long time it’s very healthy for me to occasionally play a different character. It wipes the slate clean for me and ironically freshens up my performance of Riff Raff. Frank has always been a role I enjoyed but playing the Narrator earlier this year (a role I had never played before) was also a lot of fun. I adored it actually. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to play it again one day. And yes, after having the audience shout at me for years it was great to finally be allowed to shout back.

Q: We love following your weekly theatre porn posts where you've been posting photos of the theatres you've been visiting on the tour. Is that a perk of touring? The getting to see so many venues.
A: It’s definitely a perk. Theatres play an incredibly important role in the community and they are often the most beautiful buildings in any town or city. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I can wander around these buildings taking photos without restriction. I’ve also learnt so much about the theatres I’ve been working in since I started taking those photos.

Q: Are there any venues which have been your favourite to visit?
A: I think I’ve performed in around 36 theatres in the past year so it’s very difficult to choose a favourite. However, the Leeds Grand comes to mind, and – of course – any theatre that has been designed by Frank Matcham is guaranteed to be gorgeous.

Q: Away from Rocky Horror, what are your favourite musicals? A: Because I’m often performing 8 shows a week I rarely get to see other shows, so I find I end up being a bit behind the times when it comes to musicals. However, I really enjoy acting based musicals and musicals that are on the quirkier side… so if you know of any that fit that description please let me know.

Q: Are there any roles you've yet to play that you've like to?
A: I’ve been shouting from the rooftops that I’d like to play Hedwig in Hedwig in the Angry Inch. I got cast in it earlier this year in New Zealand, but then I had to pull out because of a scheduling cross over with Rocky Horror. It would have been nice to have done it, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time.

Q: We love your cover of Wig In A Box from Hedwig over on your YouTube channel. Are there any plans for more covers?
A: I would absolutely love to record more songs. I’ve recently opened up a shop on my website kristianlavercombe.com where all the profits go back into creating more songs and photography. I’ve had to shut shop for a few weeks while I relocate to South Africa to do a tour of Rocky Horror there, but it’ll hopefully be up and running again soon.

We thank Kristian for his insight and time. You can keep up to date with Kristian via his website www.kristianlavercombe.com, on Instagram: @kristianlavercombe or on his Twitter: @lavercombe.

For tickets to the South African run of Rocky Horror visit https://tickets.computicket.com/event/the_rocky_horror_show/2819516

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