The Rocky Horrow Show
Music, lyrics & book by Richard O'Brien
Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre - June 19, 1973
Comedy Theatre, London - April 6, 1979 (2960 perfs)
Belasco Theatre, Broadway - March 10, 1975 (32 perfs)
Available on DVD To find out more click here
Three masked and weirdly dressed ushers approach the stage, where an usherette, lit only by the light from her ice-cream tray, sits draped in white gauze. The ushers unveil her and she introduces us to the double-feature world of science fiction.
Brad and Janet, 'two young, ordinary, healthy kids', run on, breathless and excited after the wedding of some friends. Janet has caught the bride's bouquet. The ushers throw confetti and Brad sings to his fiancée.
The narrator, an unctuous, authority figure, dressed in a bow tie and dinner jacket, steps in, proposing to take us 'on a strange journey ...' He reappears periodically throughout the show to guide the audience and remind us of normality amidst the weirdness that is to come.
Brad and Janet mime a car journey. They are on their way to visit Dr Everett Scott, their ex-science teacher. The ushers make the sound of the car and then a blow-out. 'Didn't we pass a castle back down the road a few miles?' asks Brad, innocently. Hoping to use the phone, they set out for the castle in the pouring rain.
The cadaverous Riff-Raff admits them to the castle, then leaves them alone in what we recognise as the classic, old, dark house of every creaky horror movie. Suddenly Riff-Raff is back with Magenta, his cool and mysterious sister, and Columbia, a groupie. All three cry out 'Master!', and Dr Frank 'n' Furter makes his big entrance, bizarrely attired in Basque, fishnet stockings and suspender belt.
Frank exits to his laboratory and the three servants strip Brad and Janet's wet clothes down to their 1950s' underwear. Brad reassures the fearful Janet, but we wonder about mysterious mentions of Eddie - a delivery boy who disappeared some time ago. Riff-Raff reminisces about the good old days.
In the laboratory, Frank tells them all how he learned the secret of life itself. He seems equally impressed with Brad and Janet's underwear. With Riff-Raff's assistance, Frank brings his creature, Rocky, to life. He is introduced to the couple, but Janet claims not to like men with too many muscles.
With a drum roll, a light comes up on the huge coke machine in the corner, and Frank's failed experiment, Eddie, looking like a cross between a rocker and Frankenstein's monster, makes his appearance. But not for long. Frank stabs him to death with the mic' stand, pushes him back into the machine, slams the lid, and sits on it. 'One from the vaults,' he comments, with macabre humour.
In silhouette on a screen, we see what looks like Brad making love to Janet. In fact it's Frank. Janet, who was 'saving herself', is horrified by the trick. Then she changes her mind and falls back into his embrace. An exact repeat of the dialogue from the previous scene follows, but this time we are in Brad's room. Bi-sexual Frank has repeated his seduction technique - on Brad. Then Riff-Raff announces that Rocky is missing.
Janet and Rocky are together in the lab. She is remorseful but also excited after her escapade. Rocky is hiding from Frank. On the TV monitor, Janet sees Brad and Frank kissing. She is appalled, but she's beginning to have second thoughts about not liking men with muscles. Janet and Rocky climb into bed.
Frank is whipping Riff-Raff for failing to guard Rocky. Riff-Raff searches for him on the monitors, and finds him in the female's quarters. After checking there is someone to catch him, Frank faints.
Riff-Raff announces an intruder in the castle. 'Great Scott!' cries Brad, seeing who it is: Dr Everett Scott. The wheelchair-bound Dr Scott immediately identifies the Coke machine as being 'made of a metal that is not of this earth' and that Frank is, in fact, an alien. Then he reveals that Eddie was his nephew.
Frank produces Eddie from the Coke machine. He is in a bag in pieces. Magenta offers to put him down the waste disposal unit. Using his space-age technology, Frank restrains the rest with a flick of a switch which roots them to the ground. He releases them but Riff-Raff sprays them with a drug in preparation for what Frank calls 'the floor-show'.
One by one the cast come on, dressed in black fishnets and suspenders. But Riff-Raff has had enough. Dressed in extra-terrestrial costume, he and Magenta take over.
Then Riff-Raff tells Frank he isn't coming back to the planet Transexual in the galaxy Transylvania and produces a ray gun. which he aims and fires at Frank. But Columbia throws herself in the way to little avail. Both she and Frank are blasted to death. Brad, Janet and Scott escape, while Riff-Raff and Magenta climb onto the lab bed and activate the transit crystal. They disappear leaving the rest of the cast to comment.
The curtain finally closes. Magenta, as the usherette, ends the show with a reprise of the first song, before the whole cast join her once more.
- Science Fiction, Super Heroes - Magenta (as the Usherette)
- Damn It, Janet - Brad and Janet
- Over At the Frankenstein Place - Brad, Janet, Riff-Raff & Company
- Sweet Transvestite - Frank, Brad & Company
- Time Warp - Riff-Raff, Magenta, Columbia and narrator
- The Sword of Damocles - Rocky and company
- Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul) - Eddie & Company
- Eddie's Teddy - Dr Scott
- Touch a Touch Me - Janet & Rocky
- Once In A While - Brad
- Rose Tint My World (Floor Show) - Company
- I'm Going Home - Frank & Company
- Superheroes - Brad, Janet and Narrator
- Science Fiction - Double Feature (reprise) - Magenta & Company