Rocky Horror Show
Whether you’re a Rocky Horror Show regular or “Virgin”, nothing can top this theatre experience that encourages audience participation from heckling to dancing to dressing up in Rocky Horror costumes. Don your fishnets, cake on the lipstick and warm up your hips. I would like – if I may – to take you on a strange journey…
The History of the Rocky Horror Show
“The Rocky Horror Show” is a legendary creation that has stood the test of time – so much so that even though it was created in the 1970s, you will have heard of it. It is a rock musical written by Richard O’Brien in the 1970s to parody science fiction and horror films. After being developed into a film and spreading its seeds across the globe, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with a massive cult following. Smaller film theatres have regular Rocky Horror nights where the film is shown and everyone attending shows up dressed as their favourit character. Going to watch the Rocky Horror Show, whether it be in a theatre or a cinema, is a participation sport – you are expected to catcall at the screen, and the event has been going on for so long that there are standard heckles to almost every moment onscreen. Huge fun!
Watch the film before you go: “Science fiction, double feature”
It would be madness to arrive at the theatre without having any idea what you’re letting yourself in for. So, watch the film on DVD before you go… Otherwise you may get the shock of your life walking through the doors and finding yourself surrounded by big burley men in high heels with their beer bellies poking out underneath ill-fitting corsets. However, if you like surprises, jump in at the deep end! It’s always going to be fun whether you’re a film “virgin” or a theatre “virgin” or a long time fan.
Honestly, I had to watch the film more than once to get to grips with the rather bizarre plot, but was satisfied at the end every time. After all, the journey was well worth it, even if I was slightly unsure where I’d ended up. This could be because the film came after the theatre show, and the theatre, being more involving, helps clarify things; or because the film is invariably on at New Years Even when there are copious amounts of alcohol flowing. Take your pick.
Rocky Horror Show costumes: “Don’t dream it – be it!”
This isn’t compulsory…but I have a feeling you’d stick out more turning up in jeans and a t-shirt and a well-worn pair of trainers.
Think corsets, fishnets, stilettos, capes, feather boas, fascinators, wigs, party hats, fake eyelashes, red lipstick…you get the idea.
Hardcore fans sometimes dress as their favourite characters, but picking out a few of the above will guarantee you look like the spawn of Frank ‘N’ Furter anyway.
At the end of the day, make sure you are comfortable in whatever you’re wearing, otherwise you won’t enjoy yourself as much as you should.
Participating: “You’re lucky, he’s lucky, I’m lucky, we’re all lucky!”
If it’s your first time, you won’t be expected to know much about this (hey, you’re not called a Rocky “virgin” for no reason…) but there are some lines that are easy enough to pick up on.
Audience participation started in America at the late night movie screenings, but in England it is normal to shout out and join in during the stage show. This often means the actors will interact with you, which is much cooler than shouting at a TV screen.
Some key notes for Rocky Horror Show traditional heckles:
When the narrator says “Brad Majors”, shout out “Asshole!”
Similarly, when he says “Janet Weiss”, shout “Slut!”
Frank will have a lengthy pause in the middle of “antici…pation.” So go ahead and tell him to just “SAY IT!”
Audience participation can and does vary from place to place, and the narrator usually gets some grief. Michael Aspel was narrating the show I saw, and when he came on stage to say “Over! What was over?…” someone astutely shouted out, “Your career!”
Just remember not to be abusive or annoying, i.e. shouting out constantly when it isn’t appropriate.
There are some common props that make an appearance at the shows, too. Your theatre may have a list of what is and isn’t allowed, but it’s usually safe to bring newspapers (to cover your head along with Janet) and glow sticks/small hand held lights to wave during the song “There’s a light”.
Don’t throw anything onto the stage, and remember that rice/water pistols/naked flames/other things you may read about that could breach health and safety regulations (I know, I know) generally will not be allowed in a theatre. Always check before you go.
“Let’s do the Time Warp again!”
Ah, the legendary dance! If you’ve never experienced the Time Warp before, don’t be surprised when everyone jumps up from their seats around you. And even the virgins can get up and have a dance too, because the cast conveniently sings out the moves:
It’s just a jump to the left,
And then a step to the right,
You put your hands on your hips,
Then bring your knees in tight,
But it’s the pelvic thrust
That starts to drive you insane,
Let’s do the Time Warp again!
Sadly, it is but a fleeting moment in this production… but no one can stop you practising in your bedroom. And practising again after the show too, just in case it comes in handy one day. Anytime the mood strikes, really (which sounds like Frank’s idea of a good time…)
Doctor Frank’n’Furter – Scientist
Magenta – Domestic
Columbia – Groupie
Janet & Brad – Hero & Heroine