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Stephen Webb on The Rocky Horror Show's cinema release: 'I feel like a rockstar'

The performer is about to be broadcast live in Rocky Horror


© David Freeman

Stephen Webb has been rocking Frank'n'Furter's heels for many a year now, but he's set to strut into a whole new challenge later this week when his performance as the iconic Transylvanian is beamed across the nation in a live broadcast of The Rocky Horror Show – perfect for anyone craving a Halloween fix.

He explains a bit more about joining the institution of a musical: "I've been in the business for 20 years, but there's never been anything like Rocky Horror. I was initially very much out of my comfort zone, but coming out of the smoke – you feel like a rockstar."

Though having never met the film Frank'n'Furter Tim Curry (who, for many, came to define the role), Webb has been spending a large amount of time with the show's original creator (and one of its original stars) Richard O'Brien: "Even before I got the role he took me out for a drink and told me an awful lot about the show and, importantly, told me to play my own version of the part.  A lot of Frank'n'Furter is Richard – how he felt about himself."

Audiences shouldn't expect a carbon copy of Curry's performance then: "No one wants to see an imitation of Tim Curry. Of course, I do my own nod to him, but maybe ramp up some other aspects."

What is it like, with the improvising? "The audience is the third person – they add their own script. I never get complacent, because the crowds are so different. One night in Sunderland was so loud that we could barely hear the music. There are some great one-liners and even some additions – when we were in Ireland there were even some Covid gags. It's also evolving – we've got a younger crowd coming in and adding some of their own twists."

Now what will be funny is that thousands of individuals will be screaming the iconic lines in their own cinemas, though the volume of spectators doesn't faze Webb: "I'm doing the same show I've done every night. The film is so iconic but I think this show has scenes and songs that fans of the film will have never seen before. I'd love to be in those cinemas watching people doing the Time Warp."

The prescience of The Rocky Horror Show is not lost on Webb: "The world is evolving – you can be who you want to be. When the show first started it was considered taboo but now a lot more people are embracing the messages at the heart of the piece."

Tickets for The Rocky Horror Show are available in cinemas across the UK.

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