Capitalising on raised interest from the Royal Court’s star-studded gala performance of The Rocky Horror Show earlier this month as part of the theatre’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations (See News, 26 Apr 2006), the current touring production of Richard O’Brien’s cult rock ‘n’ roll musical will take a break from its regional dates to run for limited three weeks from 3 July 2006 at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre.

The production, directed by Christopher Luscombe, is led by David Bedella as Frank N Furter and former Hear’Say band member Suzanne Shaw as Janet. On tour, guest stars, in the role of the narrator, have included Michael Aspel, Christopher Biggins, Russ Abbot and Clive Mantle. Other big names are expected to be brought in for the West End dates.

David Bedella won the 2004 Best Actor Laurence Olivier Award for his role as Satan in Jerry Springer - The Opera. His other theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Rocky Horror Show, alongside Meatloaf, on Broadway and in US national tours. On television he has appeared in Holby City.

Suzanne Shaw made her stage debut at the age of ten playing the title role in the musical Annie at the Liverpool Empire. More recently, she starred in Summer Holiday on tour and in Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End.

The cast of The Rocky Horror Show also includes Iain Davey (Riff Raff), Shona White (Magenta), Matthew Cole (Brad), Kay Murphy (Columbia), Sarah Boulton (Phantom), Claire Parrish (Phantom), Nathan Amzi (Eddie/Dr Scott) and Julian Essex-Spurrier (Rocky).

Richard O'Brien's childhood love of schlock sci-fi films, the original Rocky Horror premiered at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1973 and later spawned the 1975 cult film (starring Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry and Meatloaf) as well as countless revivals. The score includes "Sweet Transvestite," "Damn It Janet" and "Time Warp". O’Brien joined stars including Anthony Head, Michael Ball, Stephen Gately and Jamie Theakston in the Royal Court’s role-sharing one-off performance on 6 May 2006.

The current tour opened at Brighton’s Theatre Royal on 16 March 2006. Following the Playhouse engagement, the production goes back on the road through to January 2007.

- by Terri Paddock