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REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show (50th Anniversary UK Tour, Glasgow 2024)

Updated: Mar 25

30 January 2024

Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow


Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show 50th Anniversary UK Tour

Richard O'Brien's legendary musical The Rocky Horror Show has been successfully playing around the world for a remarkable 50 years. Since it's premier in 1973, the show has been seen by an estimated 30 million people, and it continues to thrill audiences with this latest special anniversary production.

Ostensibly a tribute to early horror, sci-fi and those unintentionally funny B-movies, Rocky Horror is the timeless story of two wholesome college kids, Brad and Janet.

When their car breaks down on a dark, wet, night, Brad and Janet find themselves searching for help at the home (castle) of the enigmatic Dr Frank-N-Furter. As Brad and Janet learn more about their host, his staff and guests, they discover that they have arrived on "a very special night": Frank is about to enact his plans to create a man (with blonde hair, and a tan.) Cue mystery, mahem, madcap musical numbers and more than a little bit of sexual tension.

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show 50th Anniversary UK Tour cast. Photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK

Fifty years old it may be, but thankfully there is nothing in this show to date it. The book is bonkers, but the characters and their storylines are uniquely 'Rocky Horror' and the when, or the where is not at all relevant.

Nevertheless, a musical can only run for as long as this one has if the music is good. And Richard O'Brien's score is magnificent. The soundtrack includes some of my favourite songs of all time.

'Science Fiction / Double Feature' sets the scene perfectly, 'Dammit Janet' is always brilliant fun, and 'The Time Warp' became a chart hit in its own right during the 1980's and 90's. 'Don't dream it, Be it', 'I'm going home', and 'Superheroes' remain some of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.

Richard O'Brien penned this entire soundtrack in the early 1970's and I stand by my opinion that the man is a genius. There are so many quotable lines and beautiful moments throughout the score; his writing is nothing less than poetry.

As much as I love the pure rock of 'Hot Patootie' and the show-stopping brilliance of 'Sweet Transvestite', it's 'Over at the Frankenstein Place' that contains arguably my favourite 8 bars in all of musical theatre. And when sung by the fabulous Kristian Lavercombe, as it is here - I get goosebumps!

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show 50th Anniversary UK Tour cast: Kristian Lavercombe. Photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK

The darkness must go

Down the river of night's dreaming

Flow morphia slow

Let the sun and light come streaming

Into my life, into my life

If you have not heard Kristian as Riff Raff sing these lines live - STOP what you're doing and go book a ticket for this show immediately. He is astonishing.

Well known for appearing in more than 2200 performances of Rocky Horror, Kristian Lavercombe is the perfect Riff Raff.

I've been lucky enough to see him in this role a number of times over the years and I can confidently say that his performance just gets better and better. Every line, every note, every shuffling movement and subtle glance is sublime.

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour cast Kristian Lavercombe, Hayley Flaherty. Photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK

With such a well known storyline and soundtrack, the success of any production of the Rocky Horror show relies on the strength of its cast. And the cast for this 50th anniversary production is full of superb Rocky legends and fan favourites who have appeared in the show in recent years.

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show 50th Anniversary UK Tour cast: Stephen Webb. Photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK

Haley Flaherty reprises the role of Janet Weiss and she is hands down the best Janet I've ever seen. Her performance is faultless.

Richard Meek has played a number of roles in the show over the years, but he's back and as brilliant as ever here as squeaky clean Brad Majors.

Filling the fishnets of Frank-N-Furter admirably, the divine Stephen Webb has the all the confidence, talent and undeniable sexual magnetism needed to play the horny but homicidal scientist.

I'm not entirely sure about Frank's accent - was it meant to be Texan? - but he's a sweet transvestite, from Transexual, Transylvania. Who the hell am I to say what accent he should have.

Taking on the role of the narrator in Glasgow is Scottish star of stage and screen Joe McFadden. Maybe I'm biased, but I thought he was sensational! He's certainly the perfect narrator for this city.

Joe has the quintessential mix of charisma and fearlessness needed to play this role in Glasgow. He is very exposed on that stage (!) but he made the character his own with plenty of Scottish pop culture and political references, and he handled the audience heckles with good humour and grace.

The casting of the narrator is always a crucial factor to the success of The Rocky Horror Show at any particular venue, and the choice of Joe McFadden for Glasgow is spot on.

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour cast. Photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK

We have all seen the set and costumes for 'Rocky' before, and although functional, there is nothing new or noteworthy in this latest production. The direction from Christopher Luscombe, and the little tweaks that he has introduced to the show over the years remain however, first rate.

It's the enduring soundtrack, phenomenal cast and guaranteed party that will draw audiences back to this show.

I do understand that 'The Rocky Horror Show' will not be for everyone; some people may not like silly, sexy, musical sci-fi - and that's perfectly OK. But for those that do, this 50th anniversary production of the cult show is a celebration of all those things and more. It's astounding... but time really is fleeting! Catch The 50th Anniversary Rocky Horror Show in Glasgow for one week only.


The Rocky Horror Show plays at The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow from Tuesday 30th January to Sunday 4th February 2024. Times Vary. Contact The Pavilion Theatre Box Office for tickets:

☎️ 0141 332 1846

📸 Production photo credit: The Rocky Horror Show UK


Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show 50th Anniversary UK Tour cast

Stephen Webb

Haley Flaherty

Richard Meek

Joe Allen

Darcy Finden

Kristian Lavercombe

Suzie McAdam

Ben Westhead

Reece Budin

Fionan O'Carroll

Beth Woodcock

Stefania Do Toit

Tyla Dee Nurden

Ryan Carter Wilson


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.

📸 Find Lisa in the Theatre on Instagram for lots more photos, videos and fun stagey content 📸

REVIEW: Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show (50th Anniversary UK Tour) at The Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow 2024. With cast Joe McFadden, Stephen Webb, Haley Flaherty, Richard Meek and Kristian Lavercombe

Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.


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