My First Time: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Reviewed

Three days before Halloween round about 9 o’clock you may or may not have seen a scary sight in the form of large groups of corseted, high heeled, stocking-laden students making their way to Venue 1. These people were going to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a weird and wonderful musical/ movie mash-up of rock and roll. The original 1975 comedy horror film was set to the roaring cast of the Just So Society and a host of scantily dressed, heavily made-up audience members.

Reaching the Union I found myself, though wildly underdressed for the weather, in good company with a plethora of heeled men and women using the picture show as the perfect excuse to doll up on a Tuesday night, and doll up we did. From lab coats to bras, corsets to wigs, it was hard to know where to look in the usually predictably dressed crowd of people. Ushered through to the venue we picked up prop bags for £1, including a strange collection of weird and wonderful objects: a bag of rice, a rubber glove, a glow stick, a party hat and a piece of toast… For those of you who, like myself, have never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show, you should be aware that this is quite normal. In fact, it’s almost tame. At larger productions, the Rocky Horror audience members have (I’m assured by my roommate) been seen hauling backpacks of eggs, flour and rice into the theatre for throwing purposes. Sure enough, those of us staring around in a sort of baffled wonder were identified and as the lights dimmed a brilliantly dressed cast member called out across the audience “Who here’s a virgin?”

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Please note, this is not a question directed at your sexual experience, but rather your theatrical knowledge of this extravaganza. And after an awkward but necessary clarification a number of faces were pulled out of the audience and a ‘meet the virgin’ ensued on stage, proceeded perhaps a little less awkwardly by the promised costume contest. In contrast to the jumpy, awe filled virgins, those in lieu for the golden pants prizes knew exactly what they were doing. Replicas of all the cast appeared alongside their Just So counter parts and audience cheers determined who went home with new underwear, whilst wishing they could look so good in so little as the two men playing Rocky. After a quick run through the infamous Time Warp, and directions to the instruction screen, the movie commenced and the lights dimmed on the sparkling audience of Venue 1.

The film itself is a cult classic. Full of the perfect combination of crazy costumes, insane characters, sex and music, it’s probably one of the most quotable and mad films I’ve seen in a long time. The plot of the innocent newlyweds winding up at the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter where they are swept into his bizarre world is easy to follow and simple enough to be understood over people quoting word for word and adding their own additions to the script. While the format was initially a bit chaotic, I soon learnt this was part of the charm, and while the first batch of rice thrown at my head caught me off guard, by the time glow sticks came out, I was fully absorbed, bopping along, pretending to know it off by heart like the rest of them.

Overall, the Just So Committee really pulled it out of the bag in a spectacular team effort; a well run, organised night saw plenty of laughter and made for a genuinely good time. The actors beneath the screen were engaging and enthusiastic with fantastic performances from Taryn O’Connor as Janet and Ruairidh ‘Rujazzle’ Bowen whose fearless, fabulous and beautiful rendition of Dr. Frank-N-Furter had everyone on their feet. The packed out venue was buzzing with fans, old and new, and by the end of the night everyone went home with a smile and a new found love of suspenders.

Image courtesy of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Facebook page.

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