This is what you can expect from The Rocky Horror Show at the Empire
The Rocky Horror Show went from being a cult classic to a mainstream must see almost as soon as it hit the stage.
Conceived by Richard O’Brien and Richard Hartley, the show opened in 1973 and hasn’t looked back, having been turned in to a feature film in 1975 and performed all over the world. It has now entered the realm of immortality, kept alive by the millions of truly dedicated fans and new converts that the phenomenon takes under its wing each year.
It has now come to our very own Empire Theatre, so, if you, like me, have never seen any incarnation of Rocky Horror, then what can be expected from an evening at one of the most infamously controversial, yet liberating theatre productions in existence?
I now know…
Obviously. I mean, if you didn’t know that the audience for Rocky Horror is almost as famous for dressing up as the play itself, then where have you been? Fans ranging from ages 18 – 70 were in attendance, with the men wearing more lingerie than the women. The theme tends to be gothic style lingerie across the board, although there are some exceptions where people dress up as the lead pair, Janet and Brad. Their dress sense is a little more…sensible, let’s say. Now, don’t be scared, like I was, fancy dress is not compulsory and the entire auditorium won’t be staring at you, in fact, I found it to be pretty even split between those who do and do not dress up. But, don’t be surprised if you’re sat next to a 60 year old, male geography teacher wearing fish net stockings. Director Christopher Luscombe said, “Rocky is like a holiday from life. It’s a carnival – a carnival for people who have to be back at their desks in the morning…”, and the cross dressing cos play is just one part of that carnival.
OK, ‘audience participation’ is putting it a bit lightly. Audience yelling “f**k off” and “blow job” is more accurate. It will become clear very early on that there are a lot of in jokes between audience and cast, with every other line having an alternate version or pun for the audience to shout out. This really added to the humour of the show for me, with some of the participation being nearly the whole crowd, and others being just one person shouting “CHEEKY!”. I daren’t be brave whenever a pun or such came to me, as I wasn’t sure whether what was being heckled was part of an alternate version or just the crowd having a laugh. Either way, be prepared for the 60 year old, male geography teach in fish nets to shout at the stage at various points throughout the night.
The Time Warp to be more precise. The programme even gives you the basic steps and lyrics, so that you aren’t left out of the loop. Everyone stands up and takes part the first time they go in to this tune, making it quite a spectacle. And it doesn’t end there, but I won’t ruin that for you. One bit of advice though: take part. No matter how uncomfortable dancing makes you feel, or how bad a dancer you are, Rocky Horror is here to liberate you of the usual confinements, so don’t fight it, jump in with both feet (pun intended).
Swearing and Sex
Not literally. I don’t think that something like that would get on at The Empire, let’s be honest. If you haven’t already gathered, The Rocky Horror Show isn’t for the prudish type. If sex jokes, sexual reference and…well sex offend you, then prepare to be offended. If anything crude offends you, then prepare to be offended. And if swearing offends you, need I say it? The freedom that Rocky Horror brings not only comes through dressing up, dancing and participating in the show, it comes through the fact that there is no filter on sexuality or what language can or can’t be used. I’m sure most people reading this are already on board with this, but if you’re not, either stay at home or guess what…prepare to be offended.
The Rocky Horror show has been responsible for long time married couples finding each other in the first place, for lifelong friendships and keeping people sane when the daily grind gets too much. Now, it was never something that appealed to me, and don’t get me wrong, you won’t catch me in the fish nets next to ‘ye olde geography teacher’, but I will be there dancing along and feeling warm inside that there is still something of a carnival going on in those peoples lives whom you would least expect.