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An interview with Rocky Horror star Oliver Thornton

Time & Leisure Magazine’s Marlee Brown interviewed Oliver Thornton about his role as Frank N Furter in the 40th Anniversary Party Production of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show.

I recently got the chance to speak with Oliver Thornton, a regular to London’s West End theatre district.

This May, Thornton is making an appearance at the Richmond Theatre, with the lead role in Richard O’Brien’s classic, The Rocky Horror Show. ‘My character - Frank N Furter - he’s good, he’s bad, he’s kind, he’s nasty. He’s everything in one,’ Oliver told me. ‘It’s so rare that you get to play a character that is all of those things. So for me, it’s a wonderful challenge.’

Oliver began his vocal and acting training at the age of 19 at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Since then, he’s performed in a number of theatrical performances and feature films, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Godforsaken, Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables to name a few. I was interested to see what this experienced actor enjoyed most about being on stage.

‘I think the great thing about live theatre is it’s completely unique and changes every single night,’ he said. ‘Everyone in the theatre, cast and audience, loses themselves and escapes to another world. In this case, it’s to the world of Rocky Horror.’

The Rocky Horror show first appeared at London’s Royal Court Theatre in June of 1973. Since then, it has travelled far and wide, reaching more than 30 countries spanning all seven continents. As Oliver tried explaining to me, the show has established a loyal cult following, with fans just plain adoring the show since its creation four decades ago. ‘I think it just captures peoples’ imagination,’ he said. ‘They feel like it has resonance with their life and they want to support it.’

As the 40th anniversary production of the show, this year’s tour has been completely redesigned for audiences with a new look, feel and cast. Even still, the themes touched upon are as relevant as ever.

‘I like to think that it feels contemporary,’ Oliver told me. ‘It doesn’t feel like it’s a relic, and I think that’s important. Shows need to move with the times, and I feel this one has.’

The show, closely referencing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, begins with two kids living the ‘All American Dream’ in the 50s. As they take a trip to visit their science teacher, things take an unexpected turn when their car breaks down outside of an old, spooky castle. Left with no chance but to enter, the two meet Dr. Frank N Furter, the character played by Oliver. He explained that the story follows their journey and the lessons learned from their stay. ‘I won’t tell you too much though, because it’s a surprise from the get-go,’ Oliver said. ‘Nothing is what it seems.’

This will be Oliver’s first time performing at the Richmond Theatre, one he excitedly is anticipating. Living just down the road in Wimbledon, he said he’s very much looking forward to getting in his car and driving to work.

We also discussed his latest blog post dealing with his trip to New York City. Having grown up in New York, I was curious to see how he liked it in comparison to London. Apparently, he is planning to relocate there sometime at the end of this year in hopes of eventually becoming a Broadway performer. ‘You never know, do you, how you’re going to get on in the city until you go there and give it a go,’ he said. ‘I’m reserving judgement until I get there, but we’ll see what happens.’

Originally published by Time & Leisure http://www.timeandleisure.co.uk/whats-on/previews/2417-preview-the-rocky-horror-show.html