BWW Feature: THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW's Directorial Double Feature
Cape Town is practically shivering in anticipation with THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW just days away from opening. This legendary rock 'n roll show - which Christopher Luscombe first directed in 2005 and now with resident director Anton Luitingh by his side - will undoubtedly thrill audiences into 2020. Get to know the directorial duo behind this highly anticipated musical, which has Richard O'Brien's very own stamp of approval on the production.
Christopher Luscombe is a renowned British director, whose directing credits range from Shakespearean comedies to Sondheim's SWEENY TODD. He first started with ROCKY HORROR 13 years ago when a producer for the show came to see Luscombe's production of THE LIKES OF US, and asked the multi-faceted director the next day to take on O'Brien's musical. "ROCKY HORROR is a delicate and heartfelt cri de coeur from a young writer who felt marginalised and unsure of his place in society" says Luscombe, "it's a marvellously original and witty piece of writing that still has the power to shock."
When it comes to bringing ROCKY HORROR together, Luscombe is "extremely hands-on" in the process. "I do all the casting, I always take the rehearsals, [and] I don't want to miss out on all the fun!" Collaborating with a number of international casts, he likes to make each cast have 'their' production and continuously refines his own view of what ROCKY HORROR is. Luscombe has discovered through the years that actors are really the same the world over, but points out that the South African company is packed with really distinctive performers. With Anton Luitingh as his resident director, he's "confident Anton will keep the spirit of the production alive while allowing it to develop and blossom as any live show must."
Luitingh is no stranger to THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW himself. He played lead role Brad in the very first production of his professional career, and describes revisiting the cult musical two decades later with more experience, and now as part of the creative team, as a gift. Luscombe says Luitingh has been a "wonderful sounding board" throughout the rehearsal process, while Luitingh enthuses over Luscombe being an actor's director. "Chris knows THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW inside out and it is remarkable and a real privilege to be by his side during this process. Understanding what makes this particular piece of theatre tick, and also stage craft in general, through his eyes has been an honor."
On top of directing ROCKY HORROR, Luitingh is also running LAMTA at the same time. He describes juggling a musical theatre school and directing a big musical as a "virtually impossible task ... but juggling time between projects is a vital ingredient nowadays to a successful career in the Arts". No stranger to being surrounded by talent, Luitingh says that his job as a director working specifically with a combination of local and International Artists in ROCKY HORROR is to "remind everybody about that no matter what theatre, city, country or environment, we navigate as a team".
Luscombe is excited by the rich array of theatrical arts taking place in our country, and hopes to bring his production of Jessica Swale's comedy Nell Gwynn this side of the world. Luitingh on the other hand is keeping busy training the next generation of musical theatre performers to be a part of upcoming productions, but wouldn't mind seeing a MARY POPPINS, LES MISERABLES or OLIVER on stage soon.
Luscombe and Luitingh's passion for ROCKY HORROR is infectious. "The whole thing, written for a three week run in a fringe venue forty-six years ago is, in truth, something of a miracle" says Luscombe. Luitingh points out that this season's production will go back to the roots of what has made the cult classic so celebrated, "whilst injecting it with a 2019 energy and choreographic fizz that will have audiences doing the Time Warp in the aisles!"
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THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW will be performed at Artscape Opera House from 6 December 2019 to 12 January 2020, and at Teatro, Montecasino from 17 January 2020 to 1 March 2020. Tickets ranging from R100 to R500 can be booked via Computicket outlets or by following this link.