Photo Credit – Supplied (Kristian Lavercombe)
The Fame Reporter featuring Ellen Goddard
The Fame Reporter interviewed theatre actor and Rocky Horror Show sensation, Kristian Lavercombe.
Kristian is loving playing the eccentric Riff Raff in his return Australian tour of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show musical.
Kristian has acted in over 1200 performances of The Rocky Horror Show, most notably for the UK’s 40th Anniversary tour, the New Zealand and Asian tours, and also the recent Australian tours. Aside from Rocky Horror, Kristian has had leading roles in over 30 professional productions. Highlights include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (Auckland Theatre Company), Bobby Strong in Urinetown (Downstage Theatre), Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Auckland Theatre Company), Dodger in Oliver! (Court Theatre), Puck in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Christchurch Arts Festival) and The Dark Lady in the New Zealand tour of This Holy Fire of Love (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra).
Kristian’s other shows include Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Amy’s View, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Complete Works of Shakespeare – Abridged, Skylight, Antony and Cleopatra, Alice, Caesar and Cleopatra, Mother Courage, The Queen and I (Court Theatre), My First Time (Fortune Theatre), Rent (Auckland Musical Theatre), The Wizard Of Oz (Peach Theatre), Hushabye Mountain (Auckland International Comedy Festival), Amadeus (Theatre Alive), The Fantasticks (CAN Professional Theatre), Sinbad (The Actors Company) and Tarquin in the TV series Dark Knight (Palana Productions).
We talked to Kristian about his career thus far in the theatre industry including his reaction when being cast in the cult classic musical, The Rocky Horror Show, his dream roles, secret talents and more, check out the interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Kristian, what was it that sparked your interest in acting initially and how was your experience attending National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in New Zealand?
I auditioned for the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art the day before the course started. I was 17 at the time. It was something that had come up unexpectedly and I just went for it. I’m not sure I’d seriously considered becoming an actor before that day (I always thought I’d be a painter), but in retrospect it was a defining moment in my future life. The entry age was 20, but I conveniently forgot to tell them my real age until after I’d been accepted. By the time I graduated I was still too young to apply. However, being a trained actor who could sometimes pass as a 15 year old was definitely an advantage when it came to being cast.
How did that experience affect your current career progression?
While studying, I was taught by Elric Hooper, the artistic director of the Court Theatre (one of New Zealand’s top theatre companies). I ended up working there for a number of years doing back-to-back plays and I treated it like an apprenticeship in acting. The skills and work ethics I learnt there have pretty much been invaluable.
What 5 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with and why?
1. Miriam Margolyes, whose character acting is always captivating and I find her stories fabulously entertaining. Her interview on Graham Norton with Will-i-am is so surprising and entertaining that it’s hard to look away.
2. Rima Te Wiata, is a New Zealand performer who is not only a brilliant stage actor, but she is also wonderful on film. You might know her as Aunty Bella from Hunt For The Wilderpeople. She’s incredibly funny and on top of all that she can sing! I think of her as the Patti LuPone of New Zealand.
3. Helena Bonham Carter. I’ve always been mesmerized by her work. I love the unconventional qualities that her characters often exude. Part punk, part Pre-Raphaelite reincarnation. If I was a woman I would want to be like her!
4. Eilish Moran (another New Zealander), I initially worked with Eilish at the Court Theatre when I first started and I consider her to be one of the best actors on the planet!
5. Meryl Streep, because she’s Meryl Streep.
Time Warp performed by the Australian cast of the Rocky Horror Show at the Brisbane Media Call.
How did you react when you were cast in the role of Riff Raff in Rocky Horror originally and what did you like about the role?
Initially I was shocked as I never imagined I’d get cast as Riff Raff. Out of makeup, I don’t think people would look at me and instantly think I’d be an obvious choice for the role. However, Chris Luscombe (the director) had faith in me that I was the right man for the job. By the time I started rehearsing, everything just seemed to fit into place.
I had watched a lot of old horror movies as an adolescent and I was a huge fan of cult horror actors like Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Peter Lorre. For me, being in Rocky Horror, gave me the opportunity to step a foot into their wonderfully spooky worlds!
Do you have a role in any musical theatre or straight theatre piece that you are dying to embody and play?
Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream and Edward in Edward Scissorhands (which doesn’t exist as a play or musical yet unfortunately!)
Are you working on any future projects? If so, can you reveal anything?
I’ve recently been a student at the London Institute of Photography, so I’m spending much of my spare time (and cash) on that.
I have a couple of acting projects up my sleeve. I can’t talk about them just yet, but, if you come find me on my Instagram (@kristianlavercombe) or Twitter (@lavercombe) I always let people know what I’m doing on there.
Fame Reporter speed round
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I’m definitely a dog person, but for the purposes of Rocky Horror I can’t go past the Red-lipped Batfish (please google it).
Favourite Rocky Horror song?
There’s a Light.
Essential Dressing Room necessity?
Favourite number to perform and favourite you’re not in?
Time Warp and Superheroes.
Theatre celebrity crush?
Mark Rylance. What an absolutely brilliant actor! I did a workshop with him years ago and I was taken by how down to earth and approachable he was.
Current Favourite song?
Grace by Jeff Buckley
Place you most want to travel to?
Tokyo. It’s always been on my list of places to go and I just haven’t managed to get there yet.
What is your favourite thing about the theatre?
Theatre to me is real life magic. Its an opportunity to leave the daily grind behind get transported to another time and place.
Finally do you have any secret talents?
I’m one of the fastest finger clickers in the world. I can click any rhythm at great speed. It sounds like I have tap-shoes on my fingers. I have yet to discover any practical use for this “talent”.
Thank-you Kristian for being our guest at The Fame Reporter we wish you all the best and chookas for the Australian tour of Rocky Horror in 2018.
The Rocky Horror Show is currently playing at the Concert Hall, QPAC until 11 February 2018 then it travels around Australia before going home to Transylvania get your tickets here – https://rockyhorror.com.au
All production photos credit – Jeff Busby