Lipstick and lingerie: ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ brings eccentricity to the Loop
Last weekend, I attended my first screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Tivoli Theatre on the Loop. As a child my mom would put on music videos from the movie so I knew the basic plot, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into by seeing the film on the big screen. Every year, near the end of October, the Tivoli puts on four midnight showings of the film leading up to Halloween. Seeing “Rocky Horror” at the Tivoli is an experience like no other. Actors play the parts live along with the movie, the audience responds to the movie’s lines (often in the dirtiest ways possible) and there are prop bags complete with everything you need to bring your “Rocky Horror” experience to the next level, including rice, a newspaper and noisemakers.
The quirkiness of “Rocky Horror” brought in people from all over St. Louis; in fact, the Tivoli was sold out. There were people dressed in all sorts of clothes, wigs and, at times, lingerie. First-time attendees were marked with a red “V” on their forehead to signify that they were a “virgin” to “Rocky Horror.” The atmosphere was bubbling with excitement and anticipation.
When the show started, the cast and crowd erupted into song, and the opening scene, which shows a wedding, saw the first prop bag put to use with rice flying in every direction. As the dialogue started, so did audience participation. Lines were yelled over, jokes were made and the two main characters’ names, Brad and Janet, were replaced with “a—hole” and “slut.” From there the show only got racier.
Rocky Horror really hit its stride when “The Time Warp” began. Probably the best known song from the show, the audience got up and sang and danced along. And once Dr. Frank N. Furter, played by Tim Curry in the original film, entered, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was turned up to 11. The “sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania” who manages to sleep with almost everyone in the show is the driving force behind the movie. Frank N. Furter embodies the spirit of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and Furter’s randomness and eccentricity is mirrored by the movie itself.
However, the movie is only half of the experience. Watching “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” online or on TV and seeing it live are ridiculously different. The cult following that the movie has gathered is somewhat like a snowball rolling down a hill: As the following gets more intense it gathers more people into it. In fact, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the longest-running midnight movie of all time. The crowd is as much a part of the show as the live actors and the original movie, the original lines don’t need to be heard as much as the ad-libs and the prop bags make you feel like you’re a part of the show yourself.
With the Tivoli being so close to campus, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a must-see for anyone looking for something to do at midnight this weekend. It is less of a movie than it is an experience.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be shown at the Tivoli this Saturday and Sunday at midnight.