Oh Horror!by Katie de Klee / 25.07.2013
It was a dark and gloomy evening, the clouds over Lion’s Head hung low like bonfire smoke and as the sun set the orange street lamps and the low beams from the cars gistened off the wet tarmac. As the car pulled up to the curb by the old converted church in the Fringe, the cold damp air seemed to steam off the bonnet. I clearly had a deprived childhood, for I have never seen The Rocky Horror Show, but from the crowd who were lingering outside the Fugard Theatre I could sense we were on a strange journey.
For anyone (else) who isn’t familiar with The Rocky Horror Show, the storyline – in as much as there is one amongst the madness and the incredible soundtrack – goes a little something like this. Recently engaged couple Brad and Janet get caught in the middle of a storm in the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. They make there way to the nearby castle to see if they can use a phone. Inside they get caught up in the mad world of Dr Frank-n-Furter, his servants and his newest creation: the blonde and muscular Rocky (a member of the cast perhaps chosen for the strength of his abs not his voice. But hey, when you have a body like that…).
Under the direction of Matthew Wild, the production uses clever animated sequences to keep the most pornographic moments off the stage, and the cast have phenomenal energy in the ensemble pieces. Brendan van Rhyn is a huge woman of man as the sweet transvestite lead, and Adrian Galley, brings a little Jim Broadbent to the stage as the criminologist narrator.
Members of the audience can buy lunch-box sized participation packs, containing confetti and rubber gloves and other props to fling around. As Frank-n-Furter snaps on his rubber gloves in the lab, many a latex finger went up into the air, and as Frank-n-Furter leaned in towards Brad, slowly and purposefully as he’d just done to Janet, the man in the seat next to me clutched at his lap, to protect or please himself, I am not sure.
It’s been 40 years since the show first hit the stage and was banned with in weeks in South Africa. By the time it was banned it already had a cult following here; it became a symbol of freedom of expression. Amazing, that this parody of cheesy sci-fi movies, something with such a nonsensical storyline and ludicrous characters, can have had such a revered place in cultural history. And judging by this production at the Fugard, its following is surely about to increase.
Rocky Horror is a reminder to us of the beauty of the male body, and not just because boys legs look better in tights. The sexual ambiguity of the characters on stage reinforces the musical’s central, uh, thrust; that pleasure can come in many guises, gender can be expressed in many ways and that the hero isn’t always the most masculine character.
Dress up, join in, give yourself over to absolute pleasure, heavy petting and seat wetting. Give in to carnal pleasures; Frank is – in all senses of the word – a man-eater. Go on, you know you’ll like it. You’ll love it, you’ll want more…
* The Rocky Horror Show has now extended its run until the 29th September and is not suitable for children under the age of 16.