For those who’ve yearned for a musical to incorporate sub-par science fiction, debauched horror, rock ‘n’ roll and a heavy dose of erotica into a single production, fret not; Richard O’Brien definitely has you covered with his long-standing and quirky masterpiece: Rocky Horror Show.
Follow Brad and Janet, newly-engaged and naïve lovebirds, as they seek help at an ominous castle on a rainy night. Bizarre chaos ensues as they realise that Frank N. Furter and his gothic clique (most notably Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia) occupy the castle. The madness continues as everyone, even Richard O’Brien as the narrator, participates in the self-explanatory, hip-thrusting dance, The Time Warp, before Frank introduces himself as the pansexual, “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania”.
After being completely overwhelmed by the introduction our sweet lovebirds attempt to make an escape, but are almost hypnotised by the increasing madness; especially after Frank announces that they would be celebrating the reveal of his most prized creation, Rocky Horror—a muscular, skimpily clad man made solely for Frank’s physical pleasure.
The show ventures beyond repair as the ridiculous acts continue. A murder takes place, Frank won’t rest ’til he’s sexually conquered both Brad and Janet, and pure madness completely takes over as backs are quickly stabbed; with Frank’s devilish acts serving as a catalyst for further havoc.
Fair warning, this show should not be witnessed while sober.I’m not going to lie, I was taken aback when the first act came to a close in just a mere 35 minutes. The fact that Rocky Horror Show possesses just half the number of songs that most musicals tend to have truly astounded me. Sure, the lyrics from this show don’t deserve the same praise as those from musical marvels such as Les Misérables, or The Phantom of The Opera; but the current Rocky Horror cast more than made up for the frivolity behind the songs’ lyrics with their magnificent vocals.
However, I’ve got to be Frank with you.
There’s enough raving reviews concerning this show out there, but not enough pointing out how completely deranged this production is. This show may be regarded as a cult classic, but I truly can’t help but feel deeply disturbed by its entirety. Though Frank N. Furter may appear to be extremely charismatic—he seduced Columbia, Rocky, both Brad and Janet and, of course, we can’t forget about Eddie—I can’t help but be left with the impression that this show could not possibly be more of a deterrent to our current society’s values.
For starters, “the transvestites from Transsexual, Transylvania” are portrayed to be manipulative monsters who take advantage of people before proceeding to partake in vicious betrayal. It gets worse as transvestites are portrayed as aliens who are not at all welcomed on Earth. To top it all off (Rocky Horror ‘virgins’ look away) Frank—as the most prominent transvestite—was not only asked to return to his own planet but was even alienated and murdered by his fellow transvestites; all before the last two songs of the show.
Nonetheless, I guarantee that my feelings surrounding Rocky Horror Show are on a completely different wavelength compared to the masses. The show could not have been more widely received as a glorious masterpiece by the audience, as each and every one of them waved their fluffy, red, complementary boas and poured out of the theatre, still gushing about the one-hour-and-thirty-minutes worth of provocative frivolity.
One thing’s for sure, Rocky Horror Show is certainly not for the faint of heart.