I had heard many good things about the stage performance of the cult classic Rocky Horror. I’d seen the film and found it entertaining and so when my friend offered to go see it live, I agreed readily. If only I was a bit more of a fan. My only issue was its very ‘clicky’. As in, you get the best experience out of the show if you’ve been several times. There’s a whole world of the ‘Rocky Horror Fan’, with shouting out certain phrases, in-jokes and audience participation than can leave a newbie clueless. As with any clicky group, this means you can get a little bewildered by viewing the group’s antics.
The show was less of a show and more of an activity centre for sex-indulging teenage adults, which was neither bad nor refreshing. Many people yelled out various phrases throughout the show. Phrases that were largely incomprehensible from the theatre tiered layout. It would have been better, being so interactive, in a more suitable setting. The security team of the theatre were running around with panicked faces, hoping no-one toppled from the circle seats. Even though the shouting out was strange, the occasional dancing was fun. It was nice to be able to join in with the fun and not just sit and watch. However, it changed the essence of the theatre. Theatre, to me, is best when you can forget you’re in a theatre and can get involved in the story. It was impossible to forget the thousands of screaming, shouting people around you when they wouldn’t be quiet. Then again, saying that, the interactivity is what makes Rocky Horror what it is. Let’s be frank, the story isn’t that prominent. You couldn’t really sit and watch it like a normal theatre piece.
While I’m dwelling on the negatives, I did actually enjoy myself. The environment of excitement was infectious and it was generally a good night. A lot of people dressed up and everyone was fairly smiley and welcoming. It was only later when I considered the price I paid and compared the actual performance with other musicals I’ve seen that I realised just how many gripes I’d have with it. The tickets were around about £35, which could get you a cheap seat at other classic musicals…and you’d get a lot more to look at. Compared to others, the costumes were much less elaborate, the stage wasn’t used as well and the stage was very minimal. I think they could have had a climbable tower for the floor show fairly easily, for example.
However, despite its difference to other shows, I appreciate and endorse its message. It allows people to be who they want to be and not be afraid of expressing themselves. I just think they could do it a lot better. Though the actors were excellent and the singing was great. I guess, what more do you want from a theatre piece?
For the 2013 tour dates, see:
This review was based on the Liverpool Empire Theatre performance. For more information about the Empire Theatre: