19 September 2010

The Rocky Horror Show

Had a great night out yesterday in Brighton. The Rocky Horror Show was being put on at the Theatre Royal so my wife and I decided to go along to see it.

I’d originally seen the film many years ago, and had bought both the VHS video, and then the DVD when it became available however I’d never seen the show on the stage. I’d heard stories about the lengths people go to when attending, but having never been there it was going to be a new experience for us.

Having arrived early and parked in the Theatre car park last time we’ll be going there as it cost us £20 for 4 hours but that’s a different story), we then walked down to the theatre. I always find Brighton is a great place to go and ‘people watch’. Brighton has a very eclectic mix of residents, and then you have the tourists who what to see the sights. Surprisingly we only saw one group of people in fancy dress, but it was still early.

Having spent quite a while watching the world go by, we then went into the theatre and prepared to enter the auditorium. Whilst waiting for the doors to open, we saw ex-Coronation Street actor Brian Capron come in. It’s a weird feeling to see ‘celebrities’ enjoying the same things as us normal folks, but at the end of the day they are all human as well so why shouldn’t they. It’s great that they can enjoy life without being disturbed all the time.

Once the doors had opened we then sat down and waited for things to happen. The fans then started coming in. Lots of people of both sexes in corsets, stockings and high heels. It all added to the spectacle.

When the lights came down the show could begin. I’m not going to detail the story as it would spoil it for you if you haven’t already seen it. Suffice to say that audience participation took place throughout the whole production, including everyone standing and joining in with ‘The Time Warp’.

The part of the narrator in Brighton was played by Michael Aspel, and it great to see the rapport and good –hearted barracking that was displayed. Looking at the tour schedule, the narrator will be played by others such as Gethin Jones (ex-Blue Peter), Christopher Biggins (in the original film) and Ainsley Harriott (celebrity chef).

I may be wrong, but I feel that the theatre provides a far superior experience than seeing something on a film or TV screen. As a member of the audience, I feel that I can be ‘sucked’ into the whole environment, and it’s up to the cast and crew to do this for me. The Woman in Black being a prime example, whereby the whole theatre became an extremely spooky location. Someone could have sneezed and everyone would have jumped out of their seats.

I also feel that for the cast, to be able to get instant feedback from the audience must provide an amazing buzz. In a recent production of Spam-a-lot, it was possible to see the cast ad-libbing on occasions and both them and us enjoying the event.  Last night you could see that the cast were used to the barracking from the audience, some of whom probably know the production word for word.

All in all I would say that if you can get a chance to see The Rocky Horror Show live then go for it.  You don't need to dress up, you don't need to know the plot or any of the songs, but by the end of the show you'll have experienced an amazing evening.