Kristian Lavercombe reaches 2000 performances in The Rocky Horror Show
So, put your hands on your hips!...
Rocky Horror Show cast member Kristian Lavercombe has reached a new milestone, now having performed the show 2000 times... and counting.
"I've had a reasonably varied career, but Rocky Horror has definitely been the theme of my working life as an actor," Lavercombe commented. "I've played a few different roles in the show, but Riff Raff was unexpectedly the perfect fit for me. Now, with 2000 performances of the show, I've performed with 14 different casts and have spent 18 months of my life rehearsing it full time. What many people find hard to grasp – including myself – is that my enjoyment and attitude towards working on Rocky Horror has remained the same since the beginning."
When asked about the significance of taking on the role, performed in the 1975 film adaptation by the show's creator, Richard O'Brien, Lavercombe continued: "I was a fan of the movie long before I was in the show and I think Richard O'Brien's performance as Riff Raff is absolute perfection. The Rocky Horror fans have been very kind to me over the years and I think this is because they recognise that I'm also a fan of the show and as a result, I treat their much-loved characters with respect."
For actors who embody a certain role for any length of time, it naturally becomes a part of their identity, as Lavercombe reveals: "As I get ready for the show, I spend hours a day looking in the mirror as Riff Raff. I certainly don't look at myself that much, so I think my brain now recognises him more than it does myself! It's safe to say that he has become part of my identity and I can't really remember life without him. He's reached old friend status. Riff Raff is constantly evolving, but it's a little like ageing – it occurs in such a way that I never notice it happening."
And the privilege of the role is certainly not one Lavercombe takes for granted, especially having battled through the restrictions of the pandemic era: "I have to say that the Rocky Horror fans have been incredibly respectful since the tour started back in June," he confides. "Traditionally, Rocky Horror stage doors are a bustling hive of activity after the show, but throughout the last year, the avid Rocky Horror fans have stayed away to protect the performers and keep the show running. In the circumstance, we've been very thankful for that and they have definitely played a big part in Rocky Horror surviving and thriving this past year. Being on tour and performing 8 shows a week during a pandemic has definitely been an experience, but aside from the obvious challenges, our audiences have continued to come along and show their support. It's also become obvious that we all now have a refreshed appreciation for what an important part theatre plays in all our lives.''
Joining Lavercombe in the cast are Ore Oduba (as Brad Majors), Stephen Webb (as Frank 'n' Furter), Philip Franks (as The Narrator), Haley Flaherty (Janet), Lauren Ingram (as Columbia), Suzie McAdam (as Magenta), Ben Westhead (as Rocky) and Joe Allen (as Eddie and Dr Scott).
The "Phantoms" are played by Reece Budin, Jordan Fox, Rachel Grundy, Darcy Finden, with Danny Knott (as male swing) and Stefania Du Toit (as female swing and dance captain).
The show is directed by Christopher Luscombe, with choreography by Nathan M Wright, set design by Hugh Durant, costumes by Sue Blane, lighting by Nick Richings, sound by Gareth Owen, original arrangements by Richard Hartley, musical supervision and direction by Greg Arrowsmith, associate choreography and direction by Andrew Aherne, associate costumes by Christopher Porter and wig and make-up supervision by Darren Ware.
The classic cult musical is currently on tour across the UK, playing at York's Grand Opera House this week (until 19 March), before continuing on to Belfast, Poole, Bromley, Aberdeen, Wycombe, Swansea, Liverpool, Richmond, Bristol, Southend, Stoke-on-Trent, Cambridge, Glasgow, Northampton and Newcastle, with tickets for select dates available below.