By now, anyone buying a ticket to the camp, sci-fi, musical extravaganza The Rocky Horror Picture Show probably knows what they’re getting into. One admission to a midnight screening guarantees viewers the chance to see an exposed garter belt and Tim Curry look-a-likes throwing rice at the screen. In the 50 years since its initial release, Rocky Horror is more than a film; it’s an interactive spectacle.
But that doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the stage show, where Rocky Horror was born. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, creator Richard O’Brien, who plays Riff Raff, says that crowd participation “makes no difference” in the movie because “it’s the same every night.” However, the stage show can be a “bit rude, actually.” Even worse, it can be “not that witty.”
“I’m all for it,” O’Brien says, “But sometimes it’s intrusive. We had to be very careful with the actors onstage. If we weren’t careful, the audience would take over the evening. I’m talking about a third of the audience taking over the evening, and the other two-thirds are now at a party they haven’t been invited to.”
Last time we checked, a copy of Rocky Horror, the kind that plays in movie theaters, cannot be distracted by an audience of midnight moviegoers throwing hot dogs and prunes at the screen. However, a live actor might miss their cue if they get confetti in their eye. Even worse, first-timers might not even hear the show being performed. Though, again, most attendees probably expect and desire this level of interaction.
Of course, he says all this in good fun and in an attempt to not dissuade people from coming to and ruining productions of The Rocky Horror Show. Those discarded hot dogs kept the show’s legacy alive all these years. Still, we hope any future theatergoers will consider that there are performers on stage trying to do the “Time Warp” and their job.