The first thing that needs to be said in any review of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is that Tim Curry deserves an Oscar.
With that out of the way, we can move on to the second thing: even Tim Curry at his best just can’t beat the sheer joy of flinging a piece of toast at a stage with all your might.
It’s this toast-flinging experience that I remember the best now that I’m fishnet-free and no longer time-warping. As excellent as the 1975 film is (and it truly is something), it’s the audience participation that made the entire experience what it was in St Andrews this October.
Like Brad and Janet coming upon the castle of Dr Frank N Furter in the middle of the night, it can feel impossible not to get caught up in the world of Rocky, which includes Frankenstein-esque unveilings as well as coordinated dance numbers. The rituals and traditions surrounding the show are arguably just as compelling as the show itself.
It’s a credit to the Just So Society that they did such a fantastic job of encouraging all the best-loved rituals, from inviting Rocky virgins up onstage at the start to providing each audience member with little prop-filled paper bags. (There was plenty of rice to last through two scenes, and something about the glow sticks made “Over at the Frankenstein Place” that much more sing-along-able.)
Max Bramley performed absolutely excellently as Frank N Furter, distracting from and even rivalling Tim Curry during “Sword of Damocles” especially, and Margaret Stidham and Scarlett Reams as Magenta and Columbia respectively were also standouts.
Admittedly there were a few rocky (ha) moments (did anyone else not get a party hat?), but overall the entire shadow cast’s unadulterated enthusiasm carried the performance through without flagging. The constant cycle of energy between the cast and the audience never let things get awkward or slow. Even during the minor technical difficulties at the very beginning, the jokes tossed between total strangers kept anyone from having a chance to get bored. I personally didn’t get elbowed out of the way once because someone in the middle of my row had to make some kind of awkward escape, which is more than can be said for 99% of all compulsory lectures.
Some of the show’s most memorable moments happened largely because of what the audience added, like when someone yelled out, “What’s your favourite Lionel Richie song?” just before Riff Raff croaks out a creepy, “hello”. Besides this, however, the best moments were undoubtedly the songs. The choreography was close to flawless throughout, and though the lighting could have been a bit better, the sound was always spot-on.
Overall The Rocky Horror Picture Show was magnificently executed, and a pure delight to watch (and participate in). It was bizarre and catchy and totally mesmerising. Whether it’s your first time seeing it live or your tenth, it’s impossible not to get swept up in Rocky’s subversive magic, and I would absolutely recommend doing the time warp again.
If the blackness hits you and the void is calling, or your just want more Transylvanians in your life, a quick cure for either can be found at ‘Rocky at the Rule’! It’s a burlesque-style event with live performances from the cast on 30 Oct — more details can be found on Facebook