Fans set to do the time warp as The Rocky Horror Show rolls into Shrewsbury
More than 80 per cent of tickets have been sold for next week's performances of The Rocky Horror Show at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn.
And its creator Richard O'Brien is promising audiences: "Rocky never fails to deliver."
The saucy rock 'n' roll musical is back on tour to mark its 50th anniversary and no doubt its devoted fans will be out in force at the Frankwell Quay venue, shouting their own additions to the script - and many will be dressed as outrageously as the cast.
The show pays tribute to the sci-fi and horror movies of the 1930s to 50s with its tale of about innocent college kids Brad and Janet, who fall into the clutches of the lustful mad scientist Dr Frank-N-Furter and his out-of-this-world entourage.
The musical, which was made into a 1975 movie with Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Meat Loaf, has won cult status and features such songs as The Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite, I Can Make You A Man and What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?
"The live show has an energy that the movie doesn't have. It wasn't intentional, but the film was very slow. Once some fans came up to me and said 'did you leave the gaps between the lines so that we the audience could say our lines?'. I said 'well, OK yes'. But no we didn't," revealed O'Brien.
"The movie is a very surreal, almost dreamlike journey, the live show is far more rock and roll.
"It is simply a musical comedy and as long as it rocks, and the audience are laughing, what more could you wish for? It's very inclusive, it's very easy to watch. It's not rocket science as far as narrative is concerned.
"Brad and Janet are a couple that we kind of recognise as Adam and Eve or Romeo and Juliet, like a stereotypical couple. We can all relate to them."
He added: "It is also a fairy tale which allows us to feel comfortable with its rites-of-passage storyline. A retelling of Hansel and Gretel if you like, with Frank-N-Furter standing in for the wicked witch."
Asked about his original inspiration for The Rocky Horror Show, O'Brien explained: "Someone asked me to entertain the Christmas staff party at the EMI Film Studios and so I wrote a song (Science Fiction Double Feature) and with the help of some jokes, performed to much laughter and applause.
"I wondered whether it might serve as as prologue to the germ of an idea that I had for a musical. I shared that thought with Jim Sharman who had directed Jesus Christ Superstar. Jim liked the concept and away we went.
"I was a recent father of my first child and out of work when I wrote the show. 1972 to '73 was a moment of change. Glam rock and overt sexuality was around, gay people were coming out and there was a ‘buzz’ in the air.
"There are certain parts of the world where we are a little bit more free to be ourselves. London is certainly one of them. Back in the Seventies you had gay bars, but now you don’t need to because if you walk into most bars in London there will be a gay man behind the bar. That is rather nice."
O'Brien played the ghoulish Riff Raff in the original stage production and again in the movie but revealed that he would have much rather been the titular Rocky, Frank-N-Furter's homemade he-man.
"I would have loved to have played Rocky, that would have been cool, wouldn't it? But one thing is essential, you have to be rather handsome, and you know, muscular, and that ain't going to work. I could have played Janet.
"They're all so stupidly wonderful these characters, they're iconographic."
The Rocky Horror Show is staged at Theatre Severn from Monday to Saturday (March 6 to 11). It will start at 8pm except for Friday and Saturday when it is 8.30pm due to extra performances on those days at 5.30pm.
Be warned though, fans are being prohibited from bringing in rice, confetti, water pistols, toilet rolls, hot dogs and toast! The venue's website even includes a guide to 'Rocky etiquette'.
For tickets see theatresevern.co.uk online or call the box office on 01743 281281. Ticket prices start at £30.50 and the two-hour show is not recommended for anyone aged under 12.
Captions: The Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien; The Rocky Horror cast in action.