I WENT this week to see for the first time The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the cult movie which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary. How did I miss it before? This week’s outdoor screening was made even more memorable by sharing the experience with my friend Jim who was seeing it for the umpteenth time in the UK, in the US and more recently in Australia. Jim was dressed in fishnet stockings and high heels and joined in the dialogue by answering back to the screen. Apparently, that’s what RHPS fans do around the world. A Baby Boomer classic.
This is Jim’s story:
MY RELATIONSHIP with this risque piece started in 1980 when I saw The Rocky Horror Show, stage show, playing in the Kings Road, London
Right from those early days I connected with the character of Dr Frank N Furter and, in my opinion, Tim Curry is the original and best Frank.
The film became a cult midnight show on the college campuses of the United States. Week after week the audience would dress in character, act out the scenes and a dialogue of call-backs interacted with the soundtrack.
In 1984 I hosted a Rocky Horror party, my first full costume as Frank N Furter. I still have the basque and high heels that were bought in a rather ‘specialised’ shop in Islington, north London.
Migrating to Perth in 1994 I was a bit concerned about how the Sandgropers would react to a 6′ 5″, slightly mature Frank N Furter. Seeing the stage show at Burswood proved that most were somewhere between amused, bemused and shocked.
As I turned 50 (2005) a little question popped into my head: “How much longer can I get away with this?” “When does it stop being quirky and become creepy?”
In 2014 the answer was: “Not yet”. Craig McClachlan resurrected his role as Frank N Furter and I stalked him from Perth to Melbourne for eight performances. Yes I am a Rocky Horror tragic. But we did get a back-stage meet and greet with Craig. Just for the record, the Melbourne audience was, surprisingly, more conservative than Perth.
So as we approach the annual screenings of Picture Show at the outdoor cinemas, I am asking myself if a 6′ 5″ 60 year old can still don fishnets and stilettos to do the Time Warp? The answer, in all likelihood, is YES he will. But for how much longer? We’ll have to wait in antici…..pation.
Jim Carr, as told to Len Horne
Photo: Big Jim (centre) flanked by partner Janine and Frank N Furter actor Craig McClachlan, back stage in Melbourne.