This weekend, as part of the ongoing festivities of my wife’s up coming birthday, we drove to London to see the latest stage show of The Rocky Horror Show. We stayed in London for the night and had a tremendous time. If you’ve never seen the show or the film, you have to give it a go, it’s a first class ride and happily doesn’t want to fit comfortably into any one box.
I’ve seen the stage show five or six times, and like every long running performance, the cast has gone through a whole host of changes over the years. I’ve seen Jason Donovan as Frank, Jonathan Wilkes as well, but this latest incarnation had David Badella in the role. He’s an amazing Frank and owned every inch of the stage but the latest combination of actors wasn’t the biggest point. This time, playing the role of the Narrator, was the shows creator and original Riff Raff in the film, Richard O’Brien.
He was amazing, as were all of the cast, but seeing him in action directly in the centre of his work made me think.
What has he thought of the various versions and interpretations of the story over the years and did he ever want to give some pointers if a performance was drifting too far from the original plan he’d had in his mind?
Creating a story, no matter what it could be about, is a very personal journey. All the people involved in the action as it unfolds are doing what we want them to. All of the feelings and emotions that all of these people have are the product of our mind and, I certainly found, are an incredible bonding agent.
I’ve started to feel very protective of all of my characters so I reckon that it’s a fair bet that other writers go through the same.
Watching the action on the stage, I just had a wonder if the creator of The Rocky Horror Show was happy with the way that his work was being portrayed.
Would I be able to let go of my characters if someone else was going to create a different version of them, say on film?
I’d like to say that I’d be able to let go easily but I guess that there’s little chance of me having to confront that worry at the moment. I’m very protective of all my people so I’d probably be on edge every second that someone else was playing with them. I’d probably have to insert myself into the middle of everything just to make sure that things were going the way I thought they should, the control freak in me just running wild.
I wonder if Richard O’Brien was able to just let the production flow as it would have done had he not been there? He’s probably had more than long enough to be happy with the various versions of the show so he’s most likely just watching on like a proud parent as his baby has grown over the years.
Who knows? In 40 years, The Circle of Fire could be all kinds of things.