Let’s do the Timewarp again!

Ben Forster (Brad) and Dani Harmer (Janet)
Ben Forster (Brad) and Dani Harmer (Janet)

It’s the musical which taught the world the Time Warp and it’s now marking its 40th anniversary with a touring production that’s coming to Fife this month.

After four decades, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is as popular as ever and continues to draw in sell-out crowds.

Oliver Thornton is Frank N Furter

Oliver Thornton is Frank N Furter

The current touring production, which is at the Alhambra Theatre from October 21-26, stars Dani Harmer (‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Tracy Beaker), Ben Forster (‘Superstar’) and the West End’s Oliver Thornton.

Written by Richard O’Brien, the production follows young couple Brad (Ben) and Janet (Dani) as their car breaks down outside the home of Dr Frank N Furter on the way to visit their former college professor.

It’s an adventure they’ll never forget with fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.

And the cast are looking forward to bringing the musical back to Scotland.

Taking time out from the tour schedule Oliver told The Press: “We’re really excited because we love coming to Scotland.

“For some reason the Scottish just love Rocky and really let their hair down.”

Ben continued: “The Scottish crowd is the best really.

“Everyone in Theatreland knows that, especially in Rocky Horror world.

“Everyone loses their inhibitions, goes and gets dressed up and just has a great night.

“I’m expecting that same energy and excitement when we come to Dunfermline.”

Ben, who won ITV’s ‘Superstar’ before going to take on the role of Jesus in the arena tour of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is playing Brad in the current touring production.

“There’s a small part of Brad in everyone,” he said.

“He’s geeky and doesn’t want to express himself. He’s stuck the way society wants him to be and he’s a real lovable guy.

“It’s nice coming from the parts I have been playing the last few years to play him.”

And how does the role compare to that of Jesus?

“It doesn’t! There’s literally no comparison apart from I end up kind of naked on stage by the end of both shows.”

It is Oliver, who takes on the lead and iconic role of Frank N Furter.

The actor said: “He’s probably one of the best roles written for men in musical theatre. The audience really adores him. It’s wonderful, he’s a real complex character.

“For a lot of my career I’ve been playing young romantic leads that get the girl, but I never get the chance to chainsaw anyone to death.”

Since first appearing at the Royal Court Theatre in June 1973 ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ has been performed in over 30 countries and has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Featuring all the famous musical classics including ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’, ‘Dammit Janet’ and of course, ‘The Time Warp’ the production has stood the test of time.

“It is such an iconic show and has such a cult following,” said Ben.

“ People are still discovering it and it’s still a really unique night out at the theatre.

“To see people experiencing it for the first time and all the people that have been 10 or 20 times over the years, it’s such a strong show and a good night out. It’s a pleasure to be part of that.”

And for Oliver it’s something similar.

He said: “I think it’s so successful on a couple of levels.

“It’s silly and fun, people come along, have an amazing night, and on the other side it’s quite serious, it’s themes are about acceptance, being true to yourself and not being moulded by society.”

However, speaking to The Press from New Zealand, writer of The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien - possibly known better to some as the host of ‘The Crystal Maze’ - said he still doesn’t know the secret to Rocky’s success.

He said: “I don’t know what that ever lasting quality is. It’s still pleasing, it’s a simple story, simply told.

“All the people come on stage at the right time, all the songs happen at the right time and all the jokes fall at the right time.

“So I’m not sure what it is, but whatever it is, it’s good.

“I’m delighted to stand at the back of a theatre at times when the band’s playing really cool and it sounds cool and I hear the laughter running through the theatre it gives me great pleasure.”

The sci-fi comedy musical has attracted something of a cult following, with many turning up to the theatre dressed up like characters from the show and some pre-empting of lines.

But when did Richard first notice the cult thing?

“It kind of started with the movie because the movie was constant,” he said.

The musical was transformed into a film in 1974 called ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ which took over $135million at the box office.

“The audience anticipation could be stylised more easily and then they began with the actors on stage.

“It enabled them to shout lines and pre-empt lines and adapt their journey and anticipation with the film.

“That’s where it began and it’s shifted over in to the live action. I think the film action started about 77-78 somewhere around there and took another 10 years to transfer to the live shows and it’s kind of nice.”