It’s pretty much a year to the day since we last brought you a review of the much loved ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the New Theatre in Cardiff. The 50th Anniversary Tour has returned, with a lot of the same cast as last year. Now, you’d think with that scenario, all we’d do is rehash our previous review and that’s job done. Well that is most certainly not the case.

Any Rocky Horror aficionado will tell you that the script and songs may be the same, the Time Warp happens when the well know dance routine is supposed to happen, but every performance is very different. The reason for that is simple – the audience.

See if you can spot yourself in our brilliant Rocky Horror Rogues Gallery……..

This is my tenth Rocky outing and each time I’ve left the theatre having enjoyed something new about the production. We’ll bring you our review, but you can take it from me that the show is brilliant, simple as that. Was it so different from last time you might wonder, well, maybe not. But I can tell you now, the characters and fans who spent Easter Monday in the most bizarrely beautiful outfits, watching a half a century old show made last night a completely unique experience. And if you are going tonight, you’ll enjoy that uniqueness again too.

For those of you who haven’t experienced Rock Horror live, and believe me, it is an experience like no other, you are in for an eye-opening time. All the things you expect from a night at the theatre are thrown out the window and replaced with a wild, crazy, interactive event. The audience are as much a part of Rocky as the actors on stage.

And if you need proof, here’s a few of the lovely weird lot from last night to tell you what they thought of the show. We also switched it up a little and got members of the amazing cast to tell us what they thought of the opening night audience. You’ll see Stephen Webb (Frank’n’Furter), Richard Meek (Brad), who also talks about talking over the Brad baton from Ore Oduba. And also our local star Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff) who recalls growing up in Neath, Port Talbot.


Rocky Horror couldn’t come into town at a better time. When all emphasis is on theatre etiquette, thanks to a rowdy crowd at The Bodyguard in Manchester, signs are appearing at some venues telling guests to ‘observe theatre etiquette‘. The Rocky Horror etiquette is all whole new ball game, as you can see at the bottom of this page.

You might be getting your best outfit on for a lovely evening out, but the die hard fans of the show will be dressed slightly differently. When you arrive at the theatre there’s a fair chance you’ll see stockings, suspenders, basques and a whole range of wild and crazy hair and make up. The women tend to join in with that look too.

Just for the record, I have been to the show in full thigh revealing, glory, but not last night.

As with last years review, I am eight paragraphs in and I still haven’t mentioned the show itself. I think that demonstrates just how important the whole audience experience is. If this is your first time, embrace it all, and if you don’t know the specific lines the audience shout out to the cast, just sit back and enjoy it, it is great fun being in the crowd.

Rocky Horror – New Theatre Cardiff

This show may well be more than fifty years old, but it’s as entertaining, and actually even more relevant now than its ever been. It was written by Richard O’Brien, and had its first public airing at The Royal Court in 1973. Two years later the movie was released, making stars of the likes of Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and the late Meat Loaf.

So how do you take such an iconic piece, which has been seen and enjoyed the world over, in a whole manner of reincarnations (see what we did there?). Well, you hand the reigns over to Director CHRISTOPHER LUSCOBMBE, who has worked on the likes of Spamalot and Little Shop of Horrors and get award winning designer HUGH DURRANT on board, and you have something really special.

Rocky Horror is naughty and sexy but incredibly funny. The songs are clever and saucy and it takes a top-notch cast to pull them off, and that’s exactly what we have on the New Theatre stage this week.

The story follows squeaky-clean sweethearts Brad and Janet on an adventure they’ll never forget. In comes seasoned musical star RICHARD MEEK as Brad. Now, Brad maybe meek, but he is played superbly. Richard brings a cheeky innocence to Brad which is actually really hard to pull off, but he most certainly does, brilliantly.

Along with his partner Janet (HALEY FLAHERTY), who is as good a newly engaged – soon to be Frank’n’fied woman as you’ll see anywhere) the stage is set for our B-Movie plot to unfold.

Brad and Janet get engaged in the opening scene and celebrate by heading out to see the Professor who got them together. On the way, their car breaks down, they end up at the mansion of one Dr Frank’n’Furter, who happens to be an alien and a transvestite. Frank is about to unveil his latest creation and is hosting a party to welcome the very hunky ‘Rocky’ (BEN WESTHEAD) into the world.

Haley Flaherty & Richard Meek (Janet & Brad)

The innocence of Brad and Janet doesn’t remain intact for long as they get caught up in the decadent world of the good Doctor and his band of playful misfits.

The role of Frank’n’Furter is equally challenging, with Tim Curry having set a very high benchmark in the movie for all future Franks to live up to – STEPHEN WEBB fills those stockings perfectly. I’m sure he won’t mind us saying that he channelled all the best parts of Mr Curry and brought something new and thrilling to the Rocky Horror party.

We spoke to Stephen before he arrived in Cardiff (HERE) and he admitted that this role took him way out of his comfort zone. Rest assured that the sex-crazed, sweet transvestite is in excellent hands – and pretty damn good legs too.

Stephen Webb (Frank’n’Furter)

This show is packed with iconic characters, each of them bringing a different element, and reaction from the audience. Riff Raff is an important role in the production, but also the role that Richard O’Brien played in the movie, no pressure there for KRISTIAN LAVERCOMBE. Riff Raff is not only alive and well but has new life breathed into him by Kristian, who embodies all that is Mr O’Brien and something a little extra too.

On top of all that, Kristian is also ours. He originally comes from Neath, and is very much flying the South Wales flag through a record breaking 2000+ performances around the world – great job Kristian.

Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff)

SUSIE MCADAM is Magenta, JOE ALLEN plays Eddie and a few other roles and DARCY FINDEN is Columbia. The cast is complete with REECE BUDIN, FIONÁN O’CARROLL, JESS SOLE, TYLA DEE NURDEN, NATHAN SHAW and STEFANIA DU TOIT, who is also the Dance Captain.

As you probably know Rocky Horror also has some iconic dance moves, some of which we get to perform in the auditorium. NATHAN WRIGHT’S choreography puts a new spin on our original favourites, but everything we love about these routines is still there.

And finally, we come onto the Narrator, a role taken on by many a famous face over the years. This time around we have the superb Motherland star JACKIE CLUNE known for her work on both stage and screen.

Jackie said……

“When the producers asked me to play the Narrator I was thrilled. The Rocky Horror Show is such a unique show. I just thought, I cannot say no to Time Warping up and down the country”

The narrator is a really important role in the show and one that Jackie pulls off brilliantly. She is, without doubt, one of our favourite narrators. The local references came thick and fast, and her reaction to the audience was lightning fast (particularly over the Prince Andrew reference), really fantastic job.

This is the only role which steps out of the action and interacts (and reacts) to the audience, and while we know a lot of what she says is by the book, it feels natural and impromptu. Jackie tells the story of Brad and Janet and guides us through the much anticipated ‘Time Warp’.

Jackie Clune

And that brings me right back to where I started, the audience. If this is your first time there are a few Rocky Rules you need to follow.

If you are dressing up for the show, don’t criticise other people’s costumes. Everyone has the right to wear whatever they wish. Some people make carbon-copies of the stage costumes, others take a more abstract approach. Some don’t dress up at all.

There are some No-No’s……….

  • Suits. These are only worn by people who thought they were booking for Phantom of the Opera or Chicago, but called the wrong number.
  • Sandals, anoraks or anything remotely connected with the acquisition of British Rail rolling stock serial numbers.

Talk-back lines should be used to add to the Rocky experience, don’t try to shout down other people, they might know some better lines, the best lines are the unexpected., especially if the cast start to giggle!

Audience Participation should always be complementary to the show, never just shouting out lines for the hell of it.

And the most important rule of all is…………


This production of the ROCKY HORROR SHOW is a must see for fans and ‘virgins’ alike. It may be fifty years old but it feels new and shiny on the stage of the New Theatre in Cardiff where it’ll be till Saturday. There are 7:30pm shows on tonight (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday there are 5:30pm and 8:30pm performances. For more details, and tickets, go here – ROCKY.

And why not take a look at our original preview feature, packed with Rocky facts, dance instructions and our interview with Stephen Webb (Frank’n’Furter), go HERE.

And as a little bonus, here is a download of the entire Audience Participation Script HERE – have a look through before you go to the theatre and you’ll have an idea of what to shout and when.