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The Rocky Horror Show at Wycombe Swan

Siobhan Newman

The Rocky Horror Show at Wycombe Swan

Monday, September 9 to Saturday, September 14
The Rocky Horror Show
Wycombe Swan

There are many rock’n’roll musicals on stage and screen now, but none of them are quite  like this.

Richard O’Brien’s legendary musical is on tour once more, bringing outrageous costumes, comedy sci-fi, horror and superb songs from The Timewarp to Sweet Transvestite back to the stage.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne  Clifton is Janet while Philip Franks takes the role of  Narrator for the last third of the tour.

The actor, best known as Charley playing opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in ITV’s hugely popular The Darling Buds of May, has played the role before, though the first time he was rather shocked to be asked.

He explained: “A few years ago I’d worked with Christopher Luscombe on a very different, serious thing and he thought I’d be good for the narrator. I think we made each other laugh and that was why.

“I just loved it. It was everything I’d never done:  a musical and  stand-up comedy which terrifies me.”

Philip, who has performed with the National Theatre and the RSC as well as directing many plays, lived in Buckinghamshire as a child attending school in Amersham and Beaconsfield so performing in the Thames Valley is something of a return.

“I went to The Beacon and to Chesham Boys and have played at the Wycombe Swan before.”

He was an associate director at Chichester Festival Theatre for a while and after Rocky will be going from horror to mystery with a spooky production called The Croft.

“Variety is the spice of life,” he said.

“In this show, the Narrator is an unreliable father figure. Richard O’Brien has a very clear idea of what they have to do. It’s great fun. People come and they dress up, it’s just a great night out – panto for grown-ups.”

The Rocky Horror Show began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. 

It was an immediate success transferred to other theatres before hitting the West End in 1979.

The film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show brought the phenomenon round the world.

People dress up, use props, sing or speak along or respond with ’callbacks’.

As Philip says: “Some of the audience know all the script, it can be unnerving.”

It shows how loved this musical party  is, whether you don stockings or not, it’s a night to remember.

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