It’s that time of year again, the time when middle-aged blokes are given the excuse they’ve been after, to go lolloping around Slab Square, wearing only their wife’s tights, a Primark blouse and a crap curly wig from The Pound Shop. It can only mean The Rocky Horror Show is back in town. The Richard O’Brien musical, now pushing 43, will be waltzing around the stage of the Royal Concert Hall and showing its knickers to its assembly of spangled, fishnet donning Frank-n-Furter clones, this week. To celebrate, on the 1 May, Broadway will be showing the 1975 film adaption starring Tim Curry and a chunky, yet fresh faced Meat Loaf, before he did all those endless shit sequels to Bat Out Of Hell.
In some ways, a review of this movie seems a bit redundant because if you’ve never seen it, you’ve either been hiding under a rock all your life, or it’s clearly not your thing. It definitely is an acquired taste. On paper it’s almost too daft to describe; shonky sets, zero production values, transvestite aliens, and Frankensteinesque sub plots. It’s a sort of fifties B-movie, sci-fi, kitsch sexy shenanigan of a flick, part horror, replete with cannibalistic crudity, part wish fulfillment fantasy, with it’s theme of reaching your potential, highlighted brilliantly in the show’s torch song – Don’t Dream It, Be It.
The story, is a neat post-promiscuous society, pre-aids play on the classic ‘young couple seek shelter from the storm in a weird old mansion tale’ - only with more orgies, dancing and men in frocks. The young couple in question are the innocent (soon to be not so innocent) Brad and Janet, who stumble upon the house and its resident crazies. Although both are initially freaked out by what they find - murder, the birth of Frank’s new creation, the beautiful yet mentally challenged Rocky, and an alien invasion plot, they gradually become embroiled in the bizarre goings on. Janet soon takes a fancy to Rocky, and while Brad may think he’s losing his mind, he certainly does lose his cherry.
Songs from the film still sound fresh, ditties like Sweet Transvestite, Time Warp and Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me, play like twisted rock n roll era pop fare, threaded with splashes of Alice Cooper and Carry On. Whilst the film is bloody, crass and funny what most surprises most are its more tender moments. Set pieces like I’m Going Home, still pack a powerful punch and are just as much a part of why this strange chunk of grand guginol really works, it’s because the cast, including Little Nell, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon and Patricia Quin, play this straight; there are no knowing winks here and it makes for a stronger film.
That said, like the stage show, this should be a shared experience (watching this on DVD on your own, is probably not going to work), so get yourselves to the Broadway screening, pull on your stockings and twang your garters along to the endlessly singable range of cult classic show tunes, until your basque bursts.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be shown at Broadway Cinema on Sunday 1 May 2016 at 2pm. The stage show is at Theatre Royal until Saturday 20 April 2016.