The evenings of the sixteenth and seventeenth of October saw the Byre Theatre host the Just So Society’s annual production of the Rocky Horror Show.
Entering the Byre, as I looked around the room cautiously I was at once confused, terrified and excited. Worried that I had missed some sort of memo, the confusion was a result of the giant red ‘V’s’ painted on the foreheads of a majority of the crowd. I was terrified because I knew from experience studying the film in class that the performance would require a hell of a lot of participation for a self-proclaimed introvert such as myself. Despite this, I was excited: it was Rocky Horror, and I was intrigued to see how the Just So Society interpreted it for a St Andrean audience.
My caution was quickly dissolved as the night began with an atmosphere it was set to maintain. In the traditional sacrificial ritual, the show’s ‘virgin’ viewers were pulled on stage to unleash our first exposure to the uncouth, the uncomfortable and the downright insane, as the cast moaned their fathers name in a highly suggestive manner.
If this didn’t provide enough of an insight into the night ahead, the opening number would do the trick. Clad in highly suggestive gear, three of the characters mouthed the words to ‘Science feature/Double fiction’, in such a way that really pushed the boundaries of what was typically acceptable for a student show.
Throughout, the show did not lose its sensual momentum, with its performance perfectly encapsulating the cult classic in all its absurd glory whilst sustaining an insanely high energy. The crowd were partially to thank here, with their eagerness to participate providing an environment that was at once comfortable and unpredictable for annual guests and virgins alike. However, whilst I feel that although the lack of script prompts from the audience might have made the performance and its interruptions feel more organic, I fear that it also made for less participation from less familiar members of the audience.
Nevertheless, the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ made for an unforgettable night: a St Andrews event worthy of selling out and a highly liberating evening of hilarity, electric anticipation and charged participation. If you haven’t already, make sure to come along next year to open your eyes to something completely unconservative and unapologetic.