“It’s astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes its toll…”
By the time these familiar lyrics are sensuously uttered almost 30 minutes into the film, the audience has already been thoroughly seduced by the infectiously energetic cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Playing to a sold-out crowd at the Byre Theatre, this is Rocky at its most ambitious. Upon entering, every audience member in attendance is handed a “goodie bag” full of Rocky essentials, including but not limited to: a party hat, a bag of rice, and a Latex glove. These props were then utilized judiciously throughout the event, giving a uniformity to the wildness of the audience participation. After the rowdy crowd were wrangled into their seats, the show’s director/mastermind, Beatrice Morgan, took the stage, clad in the almost obligatory yet consistently delightful fishnets that are commonplace at Rocky Horrors around the globe. She began the night with what seemed like a semi-improvised speech, simultaneously introducing the Rocky newbies, or “virgins,” to the uniquely eccentric tone of the experience and revving up the veterans for the night to come.
The show itself took place on the fairly large Byre stage, leaving the cast plenty of room to maneuver, with the film itself playing on a large monitor slightly above. Right from the opening number, “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” the performers displayed their willingness to fully embrace the Rocky spirit of sexual freedom, with the three girls in the song eventually stripping down to lingerie, one even removing her top completely. This bold choice also helped those audience members who were uneasy about attending this type of show settle into the atmosphere. As the numbers became more upbeat, the viewers were further engulfed in the frenetic zeitgeist of the music. This was especially true for the iconic “Time Warp,” a song that had the entire house on its feet, with even the most uncoordinated Rocky virgins being able to replicate the simple yet endlessly entertaining choreography. Each and every cast member, from the leads to the chorus, fully committed to their parts, with the execution flawless, leaving no doubt that large amounts of rehearsal was required. As the show went on, some of the energy of the cast and audience alike did seem to wane, but that could be attributed to the fact that most of the well-known songs take place in the film’s first hour. While the choreography and blocking could have been slightly sharper and more well-drilled, it is important to note that the performance is more of an homage to the movie, rather than a direct replication.
Additionally, with an extremely small budget, the props and costumes looked incredibly high-quality, lending authenticity and professionalism to a show that, in recent years, may have been lacking in credibility. Though potentially not everyone’s cup of tea, The Rocky Horror Picture Show remains a beloved cult classic whose fanbase is as passionate as they are “unconventional.” If St Andrews’ Rocky stays under the same guidance and leadership as this year’s smashing success, then it will quickly become even more firmly cemented as an annual must-see on the town’s social calendar