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Preview: Rocky Horror Show at Sunderland Empire


Holby City & Strictly star Joe McFadden

to dazzle the city of Sunderland

as the Narrator


The Rocky Horror Show

Sunderland Empire

Monday 8 – Saturday 13 January 2024



Seasoned actor and winner of Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden will join the tour of the legendary, classic smash hit musical The Rocky Horror Show for a limited run in the city of Sunderland. North East audiences should buckle up for this one-off special moment as Joe is set to bring charisma, charm and witty repartee to the role of the Narrator in this thrilling musical extravaganza at the Sunderland Empire between 8th January – 13th January 2024.


Joe McFadden 

2023 saw Richard O’Brien’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll musical celebrate its 50th Anniversary, marking half a century of thrilling entertainment. The Rocky Horror Show defies space and time as it continues to captivate audiences up and down the country. The nonstop partying production continues to play through 2023 to sell-out crowds.

Joe, whose expansive career spans across both stage and screen (Holby City/Heartbeat /Priscilla Queen of the Desert/The Mirror Crack’d), is excited to be returning to the show after performing for a four-week limited run earlier this year to rave reviews. No stranger to the dancefloor, Joe is more than qualified to don his fishnets as the Narrator and join this extraordinary cast in Sunderland to deliver a guaranteed party not to be missed.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

Joe said: “I’m thrilled to be returning to play the Narrator in the city of Sunderland. My time in The Rocky Horror Show earlier this year was an absolute blast so I am looking forward to donning my fishnets once more as the Narrator and Time Warping with audiences at the Empire in Sunderland.”


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

Since it first opened in London in June 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre The Rocky Horror Show has become the longest continuous run of a contemporary musical anywhere in the world. The show has been seen by over 30 million people worldwide in more than 30 countries and translated into 20 languages as it continues to delight audiences on its sell-out international tour.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

Without doubt the Rocky Horror Show is as iconic as it gets. Lighting up the stage this phenomenal cast will perform songs that are embedded in pop culture. The celebratory tour will continue throughout 2023, visiting Sunderland, Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow and Wolverhampton - with further dates to be announced. The cast are in full throttle and ready to honour this monumental moment, delivering a guaranteed party that leaps off the stage and transcends into the audience.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

Producer Howard Panter said: “Rocky Horror has always been a show I loved, since its earliest days in the Kings Road. Richard O’Brien and I are delighted this non-stop party continues to thrill audiences across the world, and we look forward to the next 50 years!”

Richard O’Brien said: “Back in the 1970’s when someone asked me to entertain the Christmas staff party at the EMI Film Studios and I turned up with a song called Science Fiction Double Feature who would have known this was the germ of the idea to turn into today what is The Rocky Horror Show. To be celebrating fifty years is beyond my wildest expectations - from the humble beginnings back in 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The fact that The Rocky Horror show continues to delight audiences as it tours the UK fifty years on is simply thrilling. The Rocky Horror Show is one of Britain’s most performed and beloved musicals of all time.”


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

A brilliant cast are already wowing Rocky Horror audiences up and down the country, with West End star Stephen Webb (Jersey Boys/Legally Blonde) continuing in the iconic role of Frank, slipping into a corset and heels with ease, Richard Meek (Hairspray/Spamlot) makes a welcome return as Brad and is joined by fan favourite Haley Flaherty (Mamma Mia/Chicago) as Janet.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

Kristian Lavercombe (Jersey Boys/Jesus Christ Superstar) once again reprises his role as Riff Raff, following more than 2000 performances around the world, with Darcy Finden who made her professional debut last year as one of the Phantoms now stepping up to play the role of as Columbia. Ben Westhead (Oliver/The Sound of Music) plays Rocky, Suzie McAdams (School of Rock/Kinky Boots) takes on the role of Magenta and Joe Allen (Little Shop of Horrors/Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) plays Eddie & Dr Scott. Playing the Phantoms are Stefania Du Toit (Starlight Express/Singing in the Rain), Beth Woodcock (Bat Out Of Hell), Reece Budin (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical/Man of La Mancha) and Fionán O'Carroll (Theatre whilst training: Urinetown/Children of Eden) who is making his professional debut. Ryan Carter Wilson (Jersey Boys) and Tyla Nurden (Funny Girl/Carrie, The Musical) are Swings.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, The Rocky Horror Show is ready to thrill you with fun and naughty moments, and features timeless classics including Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet, and of course, the pelvic thrusting show stopping Time Warp.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show is the story of two squeaky clean college kids – Brad and his fiancée Janet. When by a twist of fate, their car breaks down outside a creepy mansion whilst on their way to visit their former college professor, they meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity. The Rocky Horror Show is a guaranteed party, which famously combines science-fiction, horror, comedy and music while encouraging audience participation - meaning, of course, getting dressed-up in the most outrageous fancy dress.


Previous Production of The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show first began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs. It was an immediate success and transferred to the Chelsea Classic Cinema, before going on to run at the Kings Road Theatre, 1973-79 and the Comedy Theatre in the West End, 1979-80. In 1975 it was transformed into a film called ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. This film adaptation took over $135 million at the Box Office and is still shown in cinemas around the world more than 40 years after its premiere, making it the longest running theatrical release in cinema history. Many stars including Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Jerry Springer, Jason Donovan and Meatloaf have appeared in The Rocky Horror Show over the past 45 years.

In 2015, as part of a sold-out season at London’s Playhouse Theatre, a special star-studded Gala charity performance in aid of Amnesty International was broadcast to over 600 cinemas across the UK and Europe. The live screening - featuring a host of celebrities playing The Narrator including Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc, Emma Bunton, Ade Edmondson, Anthony Head and Richard O’Brien - smashed box office records and was the biggest grossing film in cinemas across the UK. The performance was subsequently screened on the Sky Arts channel.

Ready to thrill you with fun and naughty moments, The Rocky Horror Show is the boldest bash of them all. But be warned, this show has rude parts!


The Rocky Horror Show will astound Sunderland audiences from Monday 8 – Saturday 13 January 2024. Tickets available online now at *

*A £3.65 transaction fee applies to online bookings.

On The Web :


Twitter: @rockyhorroruk

Instagram: @rockyhorrorofficial

Facebook: /rockyhorrorshow

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