Whilst all this remains true, and I hope will remain true of the Rocky Horror Show as long as it runs, it is also true that the legacy of Rocky Horror also commanded a kind hushed reverence. When everybody is together and such an intense, shared love is concentrated in one, large auditorium, it’s difficult not to feel as though you’re witnessing something not unlike a holy or spiritual moment. There’s noise, and lots of it, right up until the second the safety curtain rolls up. Then, the Usherette steps out. And everybody is silent. Of course, we sing along after a few brief moments of listening, coming to the decision that her ability to open one of the most vibrant and well-loved musicals of this generation could be matched only by our own.
As I flicked through the programme, there were several big names. Obviously not what we go for, but a nice bonus if you can get it. Diana ‘X Factor’ Vickers as Janet and Paul ‘S Club’ Cattermole as Eddie/Doctor Von Scott were amongst the most well-known of these, but unfortunately Vickers’ place was taken by her understudy, somebody disappointingly uncredited in the program and only credited at the show with an A4 piece of paper stuck up in the foyer of the theatre. It’s a real shame as, as I was to find out five days later when I was drawn to sing and dance once more to the show’s dark refrain the following Wednesday, Vickers’ understudy was actually a great improvement on the singer herself. Vickers I found to be a little wooden, the lines a little stilted and just not… Janet-y enough for me. She was almost too twee to the start of the show that it was difficult to see how even Frank’s ‘forbidden fruit’ could change her so much in the space of a mere hour and a half. There were no flashes of a naughtier side, no breathy giggles when asked if she had any tattoos, no coy looks at Rocky from underneath her eyelashes as it built up to her confession that she was indeed “a muscle faaa-aaa-aaan”. I know we don’t tend to go to a show like Rocky Horror for the depth of character, but I do feel it’s something that should be mentioned as it was one of the only things letting the show down.
The main appeal of a show like Rocky Horror, however, is not the actors. We don’t care who’s in it as long as they can sing, dance and act. The heart of its appeal is that this is a show which brings people together, a show which sparks countdowns on countdown apps and love hearts drawn around dates on calendars. This is a show where when you go, you know some dickhead isn’t going to ruin it, because if they did, they’d have the whole theatre to deal with, and probably the cast to boot. ROCKY ROCKY RA RA RA!