Don’t dream it, be it, with a Rocky Horror Hallowe’en at the Edinburgh Playhouse - Liam Rudden
IT’S just a jump to the left... and then a step to the right...
There’s something timeless about The Rocky Horror Show, a bit like its creator Richard O’Brien who may now be 77 but scarcely looks a day older than when he starred as Riff Raff in the movie version of the show back in 1975, a role he created two years earlier on stage.
The current tour of The Rocky Horror Show warps into The Playhouse for Hallowe’en billed as ‘The legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Musical’, retaining much the same appeal as when I first saw it there in 1986. That production starred Bobby Crush as Frank ‘n’ Furter and Leith’s Kinny Gardner in O’Brien’s role, making it his own by eschewing the bald head normally associated with the character.
If you’re unfamiliar with the musical, The Rocky Horror Show charts a strange journey.
‘On the way to visit an old college professor, two clean cut kids, Brad Majors and his fiancée Janet Weiss, run into tyre trouble and seek help at the site of a light down the road.
It’s coming from the Frankenstein place, where the transvestite scientist Dr Frank ’n’ Furter is in the midst of one of his maniacal experiments…’
Over the years, the show has become as famous for its audience participation as for the story itself.
There are sing-a-long sections, responses to be shouted, water pistols to be loaded, rice to be smuggled past security and, of course, fancy dress is, if not obligatory, then encouraged.
The Rocky Horror Show and Edinburgh share a colourful history. The cult musical has played all three of the Capital’s major theatres, although The Playhouse remains its spiritual home.
At The King’s, one audience member famously managed to set not just his wig, but his tights and seat alight while waving a lighter in the air during the song There’s A Light.
Talking to Jason Donovan recently, he reminded me that when he played Frank ‘n’ Furter at The Festival Theatre - a much darker interpretation than most - he had to spend hours in physio as a result of wearing Frank’s demanding high heels.
Other well known names to play the lead role here have included Darren Day and most recently David Bedella, who in recent times has owned the role.
Later this month, it’s the turn of one-time boyband heart-throb Duncan James to don Frank ‘n’ Furter’s fishnets and basque as the 2019 tour comes to a close here.
It’s always interesting to see a new take on the role and one thing is certain, it is sure to be very different to that of Richard O’Brien himself, who for one night only, back in the Nineties, rocked up at The Playhouse, gave Daniel Abineri a night off, and played Franl 'n' Furter himself...
It was astounding.
The Rocky Horror Show runs at The Playhouse, 28 October to 2 November