GT Stage

Time to dig out those fishnets again...

The Rocky Horror Show celebrates 40 years of doing the Timewarp.

I can’t remember the last time I saw The Rocky Horror Show. This troubles me somewhat as I’m sat in the packed New Wimbledon Theatre for the opening night of the London run of a 40th anniversary tour.

I recall hanging around with original cast member Pat Quinn after one production (and then often, drunkenly, since) but can’t quite place it. Perhaps I don’t want to. It might have been a 25th anniversary show and I don’t want to think that I’ve been missing out on what is, perhaps, the greatest musical of all time for the last 15 years.

And then it all comes flooding back – the times and tours over the years where I’ve donned various outfits and jumped to the left in numerous theatres. The amount of confectionary, toilet paper and rice I’ve thrown around the stalls (no such luck this time, there are posters forbidding any kind of interaction other than verbal) and I can’t for one second think why I’ve ever been away.

It turns out that I still know Richard O’Brien’s masterpiece like the back of my hand and the journey to Frank-N-Furter’s house (castle) feels all too brief – indeed it makes you do want to do The Timewarp, and the whole show, again.
So it’s sad that the traditions seemed to be somewhat missing in London. Not the throwing of Kit Kats and spraying of water pistols – it’s 2013 and we must abide by health and safety after all – but the aisles that I remember being filled with the beautifully weird and wonderful dressed-up fan base seem somewhat subdued here. Sure, there were a few in maid costumes and sparkly top hats, and – of course – there’s always one that knows the lines to shout at the narrator (which does actually add to the enjoyment of the audience) but you just know that this show is truly going to rock when it gets away from London, and people without rods up their asses.

And it deserves to be enjoyed, to have people dancing in their seats and screaming with delight because this production of The Rocky Horror Show is utterly, utterly brilliant. The cast are exceptional – it can’t ever be easy to perform roles made so iconic by the original cast and then immortalised in film. Oliver Thornton is a wonderful Frank-N-Furter, in fact one of the best I’ve ever seen. Rhydian is fantastic as Rocky and, like the rest of the cast, looks as though he’s having a bloody great time. And oh that body... Blimey. The sets are beautiful and kitsch (with a wonderful nod to the silver screen) and it even managed to made this particular rod-bearing Londoner at least break into a huge grin, if not a couple of dance steps. You know, for old times sake...

I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining the plot of Rocky Horror because I’m assuming that by now everyone knows – if you don’t, get yourself to your nearest theatre immediately. Me, well I’m just going to believe that the last time I saw Rocky Horror was the 35th anniversary and pretend I haven’t missed out on as much fun as I had last night – after all, even smiling makes my face ache...


New Wimbledon Theatre, London, until 26 Jan and touring the UK until October. Tour dates and tickets here.

Words: Darren Scott

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