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Dust off the corsets again - Rocky is warping into Dartford

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2019

Philip Franks takes on the role of narrator. Picture: Richard Davenport

Philip Franks takes on the role of narrator. Picture: Richard Davenport

The Other Richard

Who knew there were so many corsets and lashings of make-up? The Rocky Horror Show racks up more than 100,000 audience members so far during its UK tour.

Stephen Webb does his best Frank pout. Picture: Rocky Horror ShowStephen Webb does his best Frank pout. Picture: Rocky Horror Show

And now it is arriving in Dartford.

Actress and Strictly star Joanne Clifton has been delighting audiences and receiving rave reviews as Janet.

And of course she will also be donning her corset and fishnets as she extends her role in the musical extravaganza for a further six months.

Joanne said: "I absolutely love playing Janet, so I'm delighted to continue with the show throughout the year."

Richard O'Brien, the man who brought Rocky to earth, and gave him a corset. Picture: Shaun WebbRichard O'Brien, the man who brought Rocky to earth, and gave him a corset. Picture: Shaun Webb

James Darch plays her other half Brad, and he said: "It's mad - there is no denying that. But, as the devoted audiences prove, it's a story that's got heart and relevance through every generation. Its infectious energy is still standing the test of time and coming out on top. I can't wait to put my own small stamp on such a well known and loved character as Brad - bring on the madness."

The legendary musical extravaganza also stars Stephen Webb as Frank and Kristian Lavercombe, who reprises his role as Riff Raff following more than 1,500 performances around the world.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the smash hit show features all of the famous musical numbers which have made The Rocky Horror Show such a huge hit for more than four decades, including Sweet Transvestite, Science Fiction/Double Feature, Dammit Janet and, of course, the timeless floor-filler, The Time-Warp.

Just in case you have been living on another planet, the Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank'n'Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit their favourite college professor.

From there, it just gets plain bizarre with frolics, frocks and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.

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The Rocky Horror Show famously combines science fiction, horror, comedy and music while encouraging audience participation meaning, of course, getting dressed in the most outrageous fancy dress.

It all started in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs. It was an immediate success and transferred to the Chelsea Classic Cinema, before going on to run at the Kings Road Theatre, 1973-79 and the Comedy Theatre in the West End, 1979-80.

In 1975 it was transformed into the film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This film adaptation took more than $135million at the box office and is still shown in cinemas around the world more than 40 years after its premiere, making it the longest running theatrical release in cinema history.

The man behind the whole thing is, of course, Richard O'Brien.

He said: "I hope what I've done professionally on stage has entertained and made people feel a little bit better when they leave the theatre.

"I've never done anything for back-slapping purposes, to make myself feel elevated in any kind of way. I'm just so grateful that I've been part of something that has so uniquely left its mark.

"I remember a director once told me, 'There's only one thing you should do in your life, Richard, and that's realise your dreams. A lot of people will try and stop you achieving those dreams but the only real person who can stop you is yourself.' I was young and he was old and it was the first time a grown-up had ever said anything so joyous to me, so wonderfully liberating. Everybody else said, 'Be careful, get a proper job, get your degree as a plumber.

Don't get these lofty ideas.' As it says in the show, "Don't dream it, be it."

"The fact that it is such light-hearted naughtiness, combined with root fairy tales has a lot to do with its longevity."

It's at the Orchard Theatre between September 23 and 28. Book online at orchardtheatre.co.uk or phone box office here 01322 220000.

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