Theatre Firsts: The Rocky Horror Show
By Lauren Ball
Hi, I'm Lauren, and until yesterday I was a Rocky Horror virgin. As a self-confessed musical theatre addict and a former cabaret performer with a stockpile of wigs and fishnets, I've faced much incredulity for it. "I've seen the film," I cry, "like, loads of times! We used to watch it at sleepovers! I know all the songs!" But I know it's not the same thing. There's a whole world I'm missing out on and they judge, oh how they judge. A special pity judge, with their wide eyes and sympathetic head tilts. It's worse than that time I let slip that I hadn't seen The Sound of Music. (NB: I have now seen The Sound of Music.) But enough about Maria; this is the story of my first time with Frank.
|Ingénues are still here for fancy dress.|
My designated Rocky
buddy was Ben, our Digital Marketing Manager, an ex-dancer and some-time drag
queen who (hold onto your hats, kids) had also never seen the show. We're made
for each other. We spent the night before digging deep into our wardrobes and
WhatsApping costume options, then rocked up to the office on Thursday morning
with bags full of feathers and sequins. I crimped my hair. We lined up
lipsticks and picked the most ferocious shades. Ben sliced up a monochrome dress
to make a new outfit like the Selina Kyle of SEO. And then suddenly, it was
time. We joined forces with our Ticketing Operations team, and buoyed by our
strength in numbers we set off, heels clacking on Charing Cross concrete.
|You're lucky, he's lucky, I'm lucky, we're all lucky!|
The Rocky Horror Show, it turns out, is great. It's frantic and funny and really, really weird. It's also very moving and has something to say if you listen closely, like Frank's mantra of Don't Dream It, Be It. Just because it sounds like a bad tattoo, doesn't mean it's not words to live by (and I could probably get on board with giving myself over to absolute pleasure, too). The cast are a well-oiled machine, all delivering stellar performances and having a ball while they're at it: I loved David Bedella's Frank, especially in his second act seduction mode, and Jayde Westaby was utterly compelling as Magenta. Jayde, I want your job. Just a heads up. I'm coming for you.
|Bumped into Brad and Janet. Sweet kids.||At the interval we began to lose focus.|
I get why people are so
crazy for Rocky. I knew about audience participation, about Brad Majors ("Asshole!")
and Janet Weiss ("Slut!"), and I can Time Warp with the best of them, but I
didn't know about the pure joy of being in amongst it. There's real community
spirit in a theatre full of people shouting their non-scripted lines, and I am
all admiration for those who struck out solo with their own jokes. Special
mention to the guy front and centre for his perfectly timed "What's your
favourite Lionel Richie song?" (Riff Raff: "Hello." You probably had to be
there.) Last night's Picturehouse event was a box office smash, broadcast to over 600 cinemas in the UK and across Europe, and what a great way to keep the Rocky love alive. If you were there, I hope you sang along and threw rice at the screen. It's back on the road next year and I wanna go. Oh-ohhh-ohhhhh.