You may not have yet heard of him, but you certainly won’t miss Clayton Heroldt on stage as performs the role of that “man with blonde hair and a tan” in the Rocky Horror Show, now on at the Victory Theatre in Joburg.
And he’s not just a pretty face: Cape Town based Clayton has a Bachelor of Arts degree in live performance. He’s been recently seen in the ArtsCape production of Dalliances and the film Scorpion King – Rise of the Akkadian.
We got personal with Clayton about his grooming habits and what it feels like to strut around on stage as Rocky in high heels and suspenders.
Tell us a little about your workout routine…
I’ve been working out since I was sixteen, and was involved in bodybuilding on a competitive level for two years. Normally I train three to four times a week, an hour per session: one day for pecs and triceps, one for delts, lats and biceps, and then I hammer the thighs and calves twice a week.
Did you have any reservations about taking the part of Rocky? And if so, what were they?
I did. In the film, Rocky is really just a pretty face, and has no dialogue. Fortunately for me, however, the original stage script has Rocky actually speaking and interacting with the other characters, which is a definite plus for me as an artist. Also, I’d never before performed in a stage musical on this scale, so when I found out on the day of my audition that dancing would come into it, I was a little afraid. This show has really helped me challenge and unlock my own artistic abilities in more ways than I’d expected.
Were you a fan of the show or the film?
To be honest, I’d never before seen The Rocky Horror Show performed live, and probably watched into about half of the film when I was still a kid. Then, about two months before I even heard about Joe Theron’s plans of staging it at the Victory, I bought the DVD at a Musica sale – and only unwrapped it three weeks before flying up for my audition. Then for those three weeks I wouldn’t have a single day go by without watching it at least twice a day for the sake of understanding my character and his frame of reference within the narrative.
How do you feel about appearing on stage wearing nothing but a speedo?
Fortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with near-nudity on stage. Apart from the bodybuilding contests, I also made my entrance in briefs for my last live performance in my role as ‘Ken’ in Pieter Jacobs’ Dalliances.
You do know you’re going to be ogled by a great many men while you’re up there, right? How do you feel about that?
I really don’t have a problem with it, as I know it comes with the territory. The audience is normally so diverse, I even have straight men coming up to me after a show, wearing their wives’ fishnets and stilettos, giving me a firm handshake and offering me a beer!
And what does your girlfriend feel about all this?
She finds it hilarious, actually. Her idea of fun is often taking me into Cape Town’s gay clubs and making out on the dance-floor, just to get reactions from the guys – and she does.
Have you ever considered using padding in the role?
I did, for one performance, and almost got fired. I need to have a word with the manager of my local adult store about downsizing…
Would you ever bare it all on film or stage?
I would, within reason.
Are you blond yet, and do you think blondes have more fun?
Yes, the hair is blonde (think Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner) and I’m having a great time since my “rebirth” as Rocky, so I guess my answer would have to be “yes”.
What do you make of all the bisexual shenanigans in the show?
Almost everyone out there knows that The Rocky Horror Show was the most sexually daring piece of work to hit theatre back in the seventies, and created a lot of controversy in the entertainment world. I think that even for younger audiences, what makes the show relevant to the “now” is the fact that society has become much more open-minded and accepting of sexual diversity and freedom of expression.
What is your best work-out tip?
There isn’t really any one golden rule in the process which takes precedence over another. The key is healthy living – holistically. Positive input equals positive output.
Does it worry you that people may think you’re just a pretty face taking on a role like Rocky?
I am always a little cautious about taking on roles like this one, for that very reason, so I really had to consider ways in which to give the character more “flesh” emotionally. In the end, I decided that once Rocky had “eaten from the tree of knowledge” with Janet, the audience would get to see a more masculine, intelligent and slightly cockier character.
Joburg versus Cape Town – and why?
I was born in Muldersdrift, but have spent all but three years of my life in Cape Town. There are days when I really miss home, but I’ve learned that Joburg’s where the entertainment buzz is. Especially in terms of theatre and television, whereas Cape Town is more seasonal, and focused only on commercials, and the odd Hollywood film. I’ve just found a place up here, and am really keen on getting more involved in television and corporate theatre.
What would you say is your best and worst physical feature?
That’s a tough one – how does one answer a question like this without sounding arrogant? Okay, my most remarked upon physical feature is my “rock-hard butt”, I guess – and I hate the peroxided hair, it’s high maintenance, and you could scour your pots with it – no, really,
In your opinion, which male celebrity has a body that you admire?
I’d have to say Janez Vermeiren from Top Billing.
Which is better and why: shaving or waxing?
For my previous theatrical role I tried the whole hot wax thing, and my housekeeper at the time was practically in tears watching me. Actually, I think she was getting all emotional because she saw the tears in my eyes. So I don’t think the waxing thing will be happening again anytime soon. Shaving also makes your hair coarser with time, so I rather use the hair-removal creams, like Veet.
What’s your ultimate ambition in the entertainment business?
I’d love to get involved in the London Shakespearean theatre scene, and eventually move abroad as a serious screen actor.
Wearing suspenders and fishnets: Your thoughts on the matter…
Before flying up to Johannesburg for my audition, I must’ve watched the film at least twice a day for three weeks, but somehow I kept overlooking this one – probably my subconscious mind blocking it all out! The high heels were a painful new experience for me initially, but I’ve gotten quite used to it all, and really enjoy combining Rocky’s butch elements with his (involuntary) exploration of feminine sexuality, and the audience-members’ reactions to this. Strangely enough, some of them seem to find it quite sexy, by the sound of things.
The Rocky Horror Show is on at The Victory Theatre, located at 105 Louis Botha Ave, Houghton Estate, Joburg. Book at Computicket.