Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Virginity Lost

What happened to summer? It feels like winter again on the bike this morning and I totally regretted the short sleeves and fingerless gloves. Well at least if that is summer over with I won’t bake at the Buxton Half Marathon next weekend.

I haven’t had to report any near misses with traffic for ages unfortunately now that L’s back on the bike they seem to be picking on her. Apparently she had a bit of a near miss with a bus this morning. Oh dear.

In the evening, I do something that I’ve been meaning to do for decades and that is to go see the stage version of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’. It was more L’s idea really but it was something that just had to be done. I’ve seen the film version many times, at the cinema, at parties and on TV, but I’ve never seen the stage version.

The ‘thing’ about the show of course, which is now branded as Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, is the dressing up and the audience participation. So I suggest perhaps seats on the ‘shelf’ safely away from where all the action is likely to be. Daughter, who joins us, seems a bit irked by this. Perhaps we could have swapped her seat, there does seem to be a few free nearer the front. There’s appears to be one between a rather large chap in hot pants and somebody in a French maid’s outfit who could be of either sex.

Actually half the fun is costume watching. There are corsets and fishnets in abundance and that's just the men. I also didn’t know that you could get either in such large sizes. L was worried about what on earth to wear, as she didn't want to be labelled a ‘Rocky Virgin’ But she is, we all are and proud of it! In the end L went for the fishnets, although not a corset or a basque. Although she’s welcome to wear one any time she likes. By the way, no I didn’t.

Some of the stilettos seemed a bit extreme and one girl, or is it a guy, has to be helped down the stairs to their seat. Lord knows how they’re going to get back up the stairs, hope they don’t need a loo break mid show. Could get messy. Thankfully I don’t get somebody too camp in the seat next to me and a girl in a glittery outfit comes to sit beside me.

The other debate was whether to be AF or not and although it would probably have been advisable to be completely sloshed, we resist.

This is not a normal night at the theatre but of course we already knew that. Where else would you be watching a play peering over the top of the massive wig belonging to the guy in the basque sat in front of us. The play itself, part rock musical, part spoof science fiction, part soft porn is obviously quite outrageous. The lights go down and the usherette wanders on singing ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’.

After the opening number the curtain goes up to reveal Brad and Janet and... well, I’m sure you know the story, such as it is. Two squeaky clean kids, freshly engaged, get stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre and end up spending the night, literally, with an alien transvestite and his groupies. That transvestite of course being Frank N Furter, the Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania, who makes his entrance to a huge adulation. Award winning actor David Bedella has been doing this role for some time and it shows. He’s excellent and possibly made for the role. He has enormous stage presence and is a complete master of the raised eyebrow.

Well the kids get caught up in his mad and murky world; and on the very night he brings his latest creation ‘Rocky’ to life, and get their innocence well and truly corrupted. All good wholesome fun.

The show uses different celebrity narrators each week, although we get the not terribly well known Maxwell Caulfield whereas some places have had odd balls like Nigel Planer or Ainsley Harriott, which would have been interesting. Max though is brilliant and copes well with the ‘call backs’, the audience pitching in with the script, anticipating, adding to or even attempting to alter the plot. I think one or two of the shouts might even have been clean, although I may have been mistaken on that.

There’s not actually as much of this as I thought they’d be. The place is quite bit quieter than I expected. The theatre is probably about three quarters full, suppose it is a Wednesday. I imagine a weekend show would have been a lot livelier. The use of props at appropriate moments also seems to have died out, mainly because firing water pistols or throwing rice has now been banned due to the posh-ness of the theatres the show is performed in.

The play’s most famous song always seems to come far too early, yet some people were up on their feet even before the first note had been played. It soon because apparent that no matter how I handled the ‘Time Warp’ I knew I was going to be outdone by glitter girl next to me, who was already going overboard with the most amazing pelvic thrusts, even before the chorus required her to do so. I bet she’s popular at parties.

One thing I’ll tell you, is that it’s far far easier to do the ‘Time Warp’ in Rock City, where they played the damn thing every Saturday night for twenty years in a row during the 80’s and 90’s, than in a cramped theatre. I inadvertently punch glitter girl in the face and then for good measure stamp on her foot. Sorry love but it’s all in the name of theatre.

In a way ‘Rocky’ is very dated but that doesn’t seem to matter. 1973 was when it was first performed. The film followed in 1975. I knew it was old but didn’t realise it was quite that old. Even I’m only just old enough to understand the references to people like Charles Atlas. Not sure how all that bisexuality and exaggerated hedonism went down in the 70’s. Though I see some things have moved with the times though, the axe Frankie hacks Eddie the delivery boy to pieces with is now a chainsaw.

It’s all excellent fun and frivolity. Terribly gothic. Ok the plot it negligible and some of the songs are cringe worthy but most people only remember ‘Time Warp’, ‘Sweet Transvestite’ and perhaps ‘Damn it Janet’ or ‘Touch-a-Touch-a-Touch-a-Touch Me’ anyway. The band are very good as well and it’s a nice touch to have them positioned in full view above the stage and dramatically lit.

Then after the cast take a bow at the end they encore with a reprise of the ‘Time Warp’. Glitter girl takes the opportunity to spear my foot with one of her heels, despite the fact that it's supposed to be a 'step' to the right not a ‘stamp’. Suppose it was in exchange for the black eye I gave her earlier.

Excellent night. Virginity lost.

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