It’s just a jump to the left: We speak to Richard O’Brien ahead of The Rocky Horror Picture Show coming to @TheatreRBath
Richard O’Brien, writer of The Rocky Horror Show, talks about the legendary rock ‘n’ roll musical as it visits the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 6th to Saturday 11th May starring comedian Steve Punt as The Narrator, World and European Champion ballroom dancer and Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton as Janet and Ben Adams, from BRIT Award-winning band a1, as Brad.
Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show received its world premiere in London in 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, and went on to become the biggest cult musical of all time, having been performed worldwide for 45 years in more than 30 countries and translated into over 20 languages.
Now, the smash hit show directed by Christopher Luscombe returns to the stage by public demand for a major tour, featuring all of the famous musical numbers which have made The Rocky Horror Show such a huge hit for over four decades, including “Sweet Transvestite”, “Science Fiction/ Double Feature”, “Dammit Janet” and, of course, the timeless floor-filler, “The Time-Warp”
What was your inspiration when writing the show?
I have a very low-brow approach to life, I like Populist kinds of themes – comics and rock ’n’ roll and B movies. The plot and dialogue for The Rocky Horror Show are raids on populist things: from advertising, from comics, from B movies, from sci-fi . It’s a complete and utter raid upon all those elements; a joyous raid.
Do you have a favourite character?
I would have loved to have played Rocky, that would have been cool, wouldn’t it? But one thing is essential, you have to be rather handsome and you know, muscular, and that ain’t going to work. I could have played Janet. They’re all so stupidly wonderful these characters, they’re iconographic.
How do you think the live shows compare to the film?
The live show has an energy that the movie doesn’t have – it wasn’t intentional, but the fi lm was very slow. Once some fans came up to me and said, “did you leave the gaps between the lines so that we the audience could say our lines?”. I said, “Well, ok yes”. But no we didn’t. The movie is a very surreal, almost dreamlike journey, the live show is far more rock and roll.
What advice do you have for anyone that is new to Rocky Horror?
None – just come with an open heart and a good will or not at all. I always worry that maybe the fans might steal the evening. I don’t ever want the show to be just a few people having fun and the rest of the audience thinking that they’ve arrived at a party that they weren’t invited to, so that’s important.
What’s your favourite part of the show?
The noise at the end of Rocky is wonderful – it is empowering and exhilarating at the same time it is quite joyous. Rocky never fails to deliver. Each performance lifts the heart and the nightly laughter and roars of approval leave the whole cast with a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment that you rarely get from any other shows.
What sets Rocky Horror apart from other musicals?
When it was written, it didn’t follow any kind of formula. The songs aren’t show-bizzy. So many new musical numbers you hear now, if you didn’t know what song it was you would instantly know it was a Broadway song. I find that a bit annoying. If you’re going to spend a bit of money on a night out it’s good to know that you’re spending it on something you’re going to enjoy. It’s a rock ’n’ roll show with a storyline on one level, it’s a fairy tale on another level, and it’s as enjoyable and silly as a Carry On on another.
How different do you think your life might have been without Rocky?
I have no idea but, I would have had a good life because I am made that way. My journey has been a different one than others. I guess some people have a game plan. I would imagine they’re rather humourless. Most of us get an opportunity and we wing it. Luck plays an awfully big part in our lives. You should never underestimate that. I am the luckiest person on the planet. I shall be happy as long as I can keep singing.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 6th to Saturday 11th May 2019. To book tickets call the Box Offi ce on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk