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Creatures of the Night, UNITE

The Rocky Horror Show is in Aberdeen — don’t miss out on this strange journey!

By Miles Stebens

photo courtesy of Aberdeen Performing Arts

As someone who is already a big fan of the musical and filmic version of The Rocky Horror Show, I was incredibly excited to go watch the musical live for the first time. I was not disappointed with this rendition.

I’m not sure what I did expect, but what I did not was to have people around me openly ‘interrupt’ the actors on stage. I’ve never attended a show that had this much audience engagement.

The show was thriving on that so much that I thought the audience ‘interruptions’ were planned and certain audience members had been given a script beforehand. Turns out, people just love the musical that much and have been to enough viewings to know when and what to shout to get the best reactions.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a show which has been running for 48 years (yes, you read that right) has amassed such an avid following. Once again, I cannot overstate how much I love fandom culture. Not only were people singing along and engaging, many were also dressed up as characters from the show.

Philip Franks as the Narrator is an utter delight—quick on witty retorts and adding in many delightful political quips that received rousing reactions from the audience.

Immense kudos go to Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff. His performance is so absolutely brilliant, I kept forgetting he’s an actor embodying a character and not, you know, the character himself. I suppose with over 1800 performances under his belt, and thus, having performed in this show more than any other actor during its long run, that is to be expected. You do not want to miss this man.

Ben Westhead as Rocky is just about the sweetest thing I have ever seen. I know he’s meant to be sex incarnate, and to an extent he is, but part of me just wanted to wrap this naive, freshly-born human up in a blanket and give him a forehead kiss.

Now, onto the main man, the star of the show: Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Or, in this case, Stephen Webb. Honestly? I’m lost for words. His entrance in ‘Sweet Transvestite’ is everything I hoped for. As a trans person, I deeply identify with this song and it felt so liberating and euphoric for me to watch it be performed live right in front of me and to be able to sing along.

And Webb as Frank-N-Furter is just… pure sex. Or rather, pure gender. If my egg hadn’t cracked already (an ‘egg’ being a trans person’s ‘closet’), watching The Rocky Horror Show live might have done it.

That’s what I personally love so much about the musical. As Tim Curry—the original Frank-N-Furter—stated, the musical is delightfully freeing and might just help someone figure out their own sexuality (or gender identity in my case). And that’s wonderful.

I believe sexuality and gender are both fabulously fluid and I wish people were more open to exploring and accepting others’ exploration. I believe having representation of characters that are comfortable and unapologetically flamboyant in their gender and sexual identity is vital and awe-inspiring.

photo courtesy of Aberdeen Performing Arts .

Knowing that the musical and its filmic adaptation have had a wide influence on sexual liberation movements fills me with joy. This is why art matters. This is why representation matters.

So, with that in mind, do yourself a favour and go watch the cult musical while it’s in town. I know, many of us are fourth years, and dissertations are almost due and we’re very busy, but seriously: you do not want to miss out on this.

And, if you can, I suggest getting a seat in the Stalls—you’re on a level with the stage and the actors and it feels like such an immersive experience, amplified by the rampant audience engagement

The Rocky Horror Show will be running at His Majesty’s Theatre until 30th April. For tickets and more information, visit:


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