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Liam Rudden: Rocky is still out to shock at 40

  • by Liam Rudden
 

“IT’S just a jump to the left!” Can you believe it’s four decades since The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien’s cult musical, was first unleased on an unsuspecting public?

Next month, the Playhouse welcomes the 40th anniversary tour to the Capital. It’s a venue Rocky has played many times before. Indeed, it was there that I was first introduced to it 1984, a time when audience participation was at its height.

For those who have never indulged, imagine a B-movie come to life on stage - only the audience are as much a part of the action as the actors. There are responses to call out, clothing that must be worn (fishnets, basques and stilettoes), and things to throw.

Back in 1984, Bobby Crush was Frank-N-Furter, the transvestite alien the action centres on. Since, then everyone from Jason Donovan to Darren Day has played the role, each slapping down audiences with caustic asides.

Over the years, however, productions have become more tame - blame Heath & Safety. During a performance at The King’s, one audience member dropped a match into his wig - all the performers could see were flames leaping from the back of the auditorium.

At another show, in the rain scene fire extinguishers were sprayed from the circle over those in the stalls - who, luckily, already had newspapers over their heads. Maybe you can understand why it’s been tamed.

So it’ll be interesting to see just how much of the anarchy that made the Rocky Horror Show the cult it became has survived as it hits the big 4 0. Let’s do the time-warp again!

 

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