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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 Rocky Horror Show

📍 Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5EZ

🗓 Monday 16th January 2023



Last night I was at the Princess Theatre in Torquay to attend my first press night of the year, and what a start to the year it was! I haven't seen Rocky Horror Show on stage for about 13 years and it felt so good to be back!

The musical essentially follows the same storyline as the cult 1975 movie and is as sexy, chaotic, hilarious and fabulous as you want it to be!

The show opens with the Usherette singing Science Fiction - Double Feature who at the conclusion of the song, pulls back the curtain to reveal Brad and Janet.

Richard Meek as Brad and Haley Flaherty as Janet were adorable as the innocent virginal couple who have no idea what‘s in store for them. I have a long relationship with this show and Meek’s interpretation of Brad is sensational and not to be missed. Together they competently perform Dammit Janet and Over at the Frankenstein Place, where we first see Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff.

Lavercombe had an astonishing voice and his characterisation was unbelievably good. I loved his physicality and the way he completely embodied Riff Raff. When he led the company in the Time Warp, the entire audience were up on their feet dancing and there was a real party atmosphere in the theatre.

Production Image: Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff

This song also gave Suzie McAdam as Magenta and Darcy Finden as Columbia a chance to shine and they were both exquisite in their roles. Magenta has always been one of my favourite characters and McAdam did not disappoint.

Every time one of the iconic characters entered the stage for the first time, the audience went wild with joy and excitement. This was especially true of the entrance of Frank N Furter who exploded onto the stage with Sweet Transvestite.

The role of Frank N Furter was played by Stephen Webb who was domineering, impressive, confident and sexy in equal measures. I enjoyed his take on the character and he was a bit of a narcissist throughout, which is kind of why you love him!

Frank takes Brad and Janet to his laboratory where he reveals Rocky, a man he has made himself! Rocky was played by Ben Westhead who gave a good performance of Sword of Damocles and had all the physical attributes you enjoy and expect of the character!

Production Image: Ben Westhead as Rocky and Stephen Webb as Frank N Furter

We then meet Eddie, former boy toy of Frank N Furter, played by Joe Allen who gives a strong performance of Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul and is then chased off the stage by Frank wielding a chainsaw!

The enjoyably chaotic first act closes with the song I Can Make You a Man and Frank leading Rocky to bed before a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign lights up the stage!

Act 2 opens with a highly sexual scene which sees both Brad and Janet taken advantage of by Frank, and loving every second! There is an especially hilarious interaction between Brad and Frank which played out wonderfully. When Riff Raff appeared in the bed with them the whole audience were in hysterics. As someone who knows this show well, I enjoyed subtle changes like this as they were unexpected.

The sexually-charged performances continue with Flaherty singing Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me and we meet Dr Scott for the first time. Portrayed by Joe Allen, he is Eddie’s uncle and has come to thwart Franks plans.

Production Image: Thrill Me, Chill Me, Fulfil Me!

Act 2 also sees Meek gives a beautiful performance of Once in a While, which really shows off his stunning vocals, and the entire company performing Eddie’s Teddy is another enjoyably chaotic moment.

McAdams is hilarious as she performs the outro to Wise Up Janet Weiss and Finden is a joy to watch as she portrays Columbia when she is high on gas!

My favourite part of the show has always been The Floor Show and this company completely nailed it. From vocals to the sexuality, there was nothing I didn’t love! Dont’t Dream It and Wild & Untamed Thing both showed off Webbs phenomenal vocals to their fullest and, if you hadn’t done so already, made you completely fall in love with him!

The section is closed by Lavercombe’s insane vocals as Riff Raff takes control and in I’m Going Home you see a different side of Frank and you actually feel sorry for him.

I have yet to mention Philip Franks who gave an exceptional performance as The Narrator. I have to say of all the people I have ever seen in this role, I think Franks is my favourite. He interacted wonderfully with not only the rest of the cast but with the audience too. His character speaks mainly to the audience directly and i I especially enjoyed his quick witted responses when someone would shout out something not part of the audience script!

Production Image: Philip Franks was exceptional as The Narrator

His part has been updated slightly with jokes about current news and celebrities such as Prince Harry and Jeremy Clarkson which has everyone in the audience doubled over with laughter. It was almost slightly panto at times, which was brilliant, and the way he mentioned local areas really added to his performence.

The ensemble of Phantoms was made up of Reece Budin, Fionán O'Carrol, Jessica Sole and Stefania Du Toit and their presence lifted each part they performed in wonderfully.

Everything from the lighting design to the set and the costumes married together to lift this production even higher.

There were a few technical issues during the performance with led to both a delayed start and a short stoppage of the show in Act 1, but this did not dampen my experience or enjoyment of the show and just goes to show the professionalism of everyone involved in the production.

The finale had everyone up on their feet for another Time Warp and the atmosphere was electric.

This year marks 50 years since Rocky Horror Show was first performed and it still feels so fresh and new, which is a real testament to how good the writing and the production are. Maybe it’s the juvenile nature of the show which helps it to remain so popular, but one thing’s for sure, this show doesn’t disappoint. It’s silly, uncomplicated and so much fun!

Production Image: Stephen Webb as the iconic Frank N Furter

Rocky Horror Show continues at Torquay’s Princess Theatre until Saturday 21st January. Tickets can be booked at .

The Princess Theatre has long been one of my favourite venues and can possibly boast one of the friendliest front of house teams. Special thanks go to Maddy for her fantastically fabulous Dammit Janet cocktails!

If you cannot make it to Torquay, then check out where you can find all UK tour dates for 2023.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being open and honest.

My tickets for this performance were gifted by the Princess Theatre who invited me to the Press Night to review the production.


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