As All Hallows’ Eve fast approaches, we are once again faced with a slew of spooky activities and performances to attend. One notorious cult-classic is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, put on at the Byre Theatre. As it’s been a hot minute since this icon- ic performance has been put on in St Andrews, I imagine that there are quite a few virgins out there—Rocky Horror virgins that is. The viewing experience for this particular show is vastly different from most you will have been to. So here is a list of “heads up” for all you first-timers out there. Hopefully by the end you will all be shivering with antici...pation for this year’s performance.
It’s not just a play. Instead of watching a play featuring the plot of the Rocky Horror, the film is streamed on a projector above the stage, and the actors act out the mov- ie below, complete with props and lip-syncing. Before the show, there will be some games and skits prepared for the audience as well that you can volunteer to take part in if you desire.
You are expected to participate physically. Along with the pre-show activities, there are several moments that die-hard Rocky Horror fans will know to shout things in answer to the character’s lines or actions. It can be fun to look a few of these up online ahead of time so you know when to jump in, but, alternatively, it can be just as fun to go in blind and be surprised. Additionally, upon entering you will receive a goody bag with things for you to throw at the stage when cued. This brings out the worst in some audience members. If you are seated in the middle or front of the theatre, too, you might be an un- expected victim of some weak-armed throwers from the back row. Not all bread will reach the stage. So don’t get mad if you get hit in the back of the head with it, it’s part of the fun.
Hecklers and heckling are encouraged. Along with the well-known call and response lines from the film, regular heckling is common in performances of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not everyone knows every famous line, and some will bungle their moment enormously. Don’t worry about the actors’ feelings—they’ve been trained in this and are expecting it. In fact, a dull, quiet audience will disappoint more of the performers than a rowdy one. Come with high spirits!
Costumes are not mandatory but will be extreme. Another custom for audience members of Rocky Horror is to dress up as one of the iconic characters of the film. So don’t be surprised to see a slew of sparkly vests and top hats, corsets and garters, and maid costumes parading to the Byre on 30th to 31st October. Full-out costumes are not required of course, but it is fun to dress on theme. Going for a toned-down (or up?) Safeword Bop look might be your best model. As a “virgin”, you should also look out for the ticket sellers with red lipstick in hand. First-timers aren’t shamed at the performance, but they are marked out for special audience participation.