It’s almost time for our theatre to be once again filled with people in basques, high heels, feather boas, and other similarly ill-advised outfits (and that’s just the men!)… as we welcome the return of The Rocky Horror Show.
The world’s biggest rock’n’roll musical has come a long way from humble (well, humble-ish) beginnings. Created by out of work actor Richard O’Brien, it premiered in 1973 at London’s Royal Court, in its second space, the Theatre Upstairs. Conceived as a tribute to Science Fiction B movies of the 1940s and 50s, the plot tells the story of an innocent young couple on their way to visit their old college tutor. When their tire blows out, they are forced to seek refuge in the home of transvestite scientist Frank N Furter, who introduces them to his latest experiment – Rocky, a physically perfect artificial man, created to satisfy Frank’s lusts…
As you may have guessed by now, if you are easily shocked or offended, this is not the show for you. Although it has its tongue lodged firmly in its cheek, as the show’s publicity says, ‘Be warned, this show has rude parts!’
After transferring to the West End, the show ran continuously until 1980, a total of 2,960 performances. Whether it’s the rude bits or the songs (including Sweet Transvestite, and the famous Time Warp) the show has been revived regularly ever since. The current touring production is directed by ex-Royal Shakespeare Company actor turned director Christopher Luscombe.
A few pointers which may be useful for the first-time Rocky Horror visitor. Firstly, If you are minding your own business in the theatre’s foyer, and a man in fishnets and a basque bounds up to you and asks if you are a virgin – do not be alarmed. This is merely the term dedicated Rocky Horror fans (of whom there are legions) use to refer to anyone who hasn’t seen the show before, whatever their age, or indeed sexual experience. They’re just sharing the love. Also, as you may have guessed by now it has become traditional for fans to dress up for shows – hence the basques and fishnets.
Secondly, audience participation is the norm – don’t worry, you don’t have to get on stage, just be prepared to join in with what aficionados call ‘talk back’ and the singing (think of it as a very adult pantomine, and you’ll be fine).
So if you’re in the mood for dressing up in suspenders and a public sing along during the first week in August, you know where to find us!
The Rocky Horror Show: Monday 1 to Saturday 6 August. Book here.