FISHNET stockings, basques, feather boas, lab coats and rubber gloves will be back in fashion in Sheffield later this month – and that is just what the men will be wearing, writes Graham Walker.
Yes, it’s time to do the Time Warp all over again as The Rocky Horror Show celebrates its 40th anniversary with a UK tour stop at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, from Monday to Saturday, April 15 to 20.
It’s the only excuse scores of die-hard fans need to turn up as characters and do the famous dance routine from the cult classic comedy musical.
VIDEO: Press the play button for UK tour show highlights, cast interviews and to watch the amazing transformation of Dr Frank-N-Furter.
A homage to science fiction and horror B movies of the 1940s onwards, the show was created and brought to life four decades ago by Richard O’Brien, who readers of a certain age will also remember as the host of TV game show The Crystal Maze.
It’s the story of a newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, caught in a storm and seeking shelter in the home of mad transvestite alien scientist Dr Frank N Furter, unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror.
O’Brien wrote the book, lyrics and music.
He also played hunchbacked butler Riff Raff in the 1975 film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which had Tim Curry in the iconic role as cross-dressing Dr Furter. Now, to get Sheffield audiences in the mood for some frightful fun, O’Brien, aged 70, has given a rare interview and reveals how to get the most out of it.
West End star Oliver Thornton, who spends up to two-hours a day in make-up and has the banter, voice and legs to rival Curry’s epic performance, allowed us to film his amazing transformation – see www.thestar.co.uk/video
Giving other top tips and explaining the show are the all-star cast including Dancing On Ice winner former Eastenders and Hollyoaks pin-up Sam Attwater, Emmerdale and Waterloo Road beauty Roxanne Pallett and The Darling Buds of May actor Philip Franks.
O’Brien, who is not in the production but has been keeping a close eye on it, describes himself as transgender and says he created Dr Furter ‘to represent lost causes’.
He says men don’t need to turn up to the show wearing stockings and suspenders. But it can help.
He says: “You need to come with a generous heart. There are no rules but to enjoy it. If people around you are having a good time, that permeates through the theatre. Somebody will shout out something a bit naughty and the audience will get pleasure from that. I like it, as long as the timing is good.
“The show has been a great blessing. It’s probably a benchmark of the term cult, as far as musicals and theatre is concerned. It’s a nice calling card.”
Of The Time Warp he says: “We were discussing a song for the servants to sing and I decided to write a dance song, a parody to have some fun. There was The Twist, The Locomotion. I thought I’d write one as a bit of a gag and slot it in. Now, wherever I go, people still insist I sing it. And why not? It makes people happy.”
Thornton says: “We have lots of Franks in the audience and they all look different – some very traditional, like Tim Curry, others in something completely crazy they’ve invented.
“Tips to look like my 2013 version: I start off with a good base foundation, then apply the eye make-up, eyebrows, eye-liner and eye-shadow. I do some shading on the sides of my face, around my nose and mouth area, then the eyelashes go on. We finish with the lipstick and last of all the wig. As the make-up goes on, you feel yourself slip away and the character slips in as soon as you see your face changing shape.”
Attwater, who will next appear in a UK tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, says he has hung up his ice-skates, although he wobbles around on high heels, playing Brad.
He says: “I’m doing stockings and suspenders every night in the show. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the heels. You’ll see me swaying from side to side, like I’m on a ship. What I would say to anyone is wear what makes you comfortable. “In a way it’s an adults’ panto, but it’s all very structured. This has such a cult following, we’ve had to learn the script word for word.”
Soap beauty Pallett, who has just made a zombie film called Devil’s Tower, plays Brad’s fiancee Janet Weiss.
She says: “There’s something magical and precious about stepping into something so iconic. I’ve had families and friends, all ages and walks of life, come to see Rocky Horror. My uncle was a bit apprehensive. He asked if he had to wear stockings. Instead he wore the doctor’s lab coat and a stethoscope. There’s a character for everybody. The audience are our co-stars.”
Narrator Frank says: “I’m the only one of the cast who has got the licence to answer back when the audience shout out. It’s like doing stand up, but it’s enormous fun. After putting up with the abuse of thousands of people, on a quiet night I’m rather disappointed. So come along and shout at me.”
DO THE TIME WARP TO WIN TICKETS
LET’S do The Time Warp again - for a chance to win tickets to see Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show at The Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.
To win a pair we want you to send us a short video of you or your pals doing the song’s famous dance, The Time Warp.
Or, just as the audience always love to participate, send a photo of you as one of the characters.
Then film you or your pals doing the Time Warp - maximum 20 seconds, ideally on your smart phone - and email it, or a jpeg photo of you dressed as a show character, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use StarCompRHS in the subject bar,
Don’t forget your full name, address and contact details.
The deadline for entries is Monday, April 8, 2013, at 10am. Our judges will pick the best, to win a pair of tickets.