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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 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, on Instagram: @kristianlavercombe or on his Twitter: @lavercombe.

For tickets to the South African run of Rocky Horror visit

1 comment

  1. Thank you Kristian..
    For brightening and bringing Joy to Masses..
    Much Luv..
    From the Rocky Family..



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