With the newest tour gearing up to start soon, it’s time to delve a bit deeper into this cult classic which influences so much of drag today! I remember being introduced to the film by my dad when I was a teenager and thinking how insanely brilliant it was and then my obsession grew.
Rocky horror is usually someone’s first dabble into drag as it’s easily accessible and recognised. An incredible show and film where you are transported to another world where it’s ok to be what you want.
No matter who you are, what shape, size, gender you are, you are in a family where you can wear what you want, be who you want and no one judges you for it because everyone is in the same boat.
The show, written by Richard O’Brien, started in a small theatre in London in 1973 and was made into a film in 1975. Panned by the critics initially, it soon got adopted by the midnight movies slot and it started to take off. People started dressing as the characters, bringing props and of course the infamous audience participation. Think a grown up pantomime if you will.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the story of Brad and Janet, a newly engaged couple who stumble upon a house inhabited by the incredible Dr Frank N’ Furter, the self proclaimed ‘Sweet Transvestite From Transylvania’ and his serventa Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia. They are introduced to Franks new creation Rocky who breaks more than a few hearts with his muscular body and blonde hair. Franks jealousy takes over culminating in the floor show and a shock twist (you’ll have to watch the film to find out what happens- my blood red lips are sealed).
Frank N Furter is unashamed about how he dresses. He wears a corset, fishnets, underwear, heels and a face of makeup but still manages to not be too feminine.
To me, Frank is the ultimate anti hero with his quick wit and confidence. You can’t help but fall in love with him. When I go to Rocky Horror events, Frank is my go to character that I dress as. I even have a Frank tattoo on my thigh. I just love his aesthetic of drag. He’s not trying to be a woman, he’s quite clearly a man but he just wears items of clothing commonly assigned to woman. It’s all about blurring the lines of gender which I think is so important in this modern world we live in. Drag doesn’t have to be looking like a woman and this is something that is being explored more and more at the moment.
Any rocky horror event, you will see almost all of the audience dressed up in some variation of the characters from the film. Even the guys revel in the novelty of wearing fishnets and heels and that’s what makes it such a great environment. You can be someone else for the evening and it’s ok, in fact you’re in the minority if you don’t dress up. It paved the way for men everywhere to put to one side their inhibitions and start exploring a form of drag that maybe wasn’t the norm.
There’s no rigid lines in drag. Frank may not be trying to be a woman but his drag is still valid. If you want to exaggerate your makeup, do it. If you want to wear an item of the opposite genders clothing, do it. Life is there to be lived and you have to do what makes you happy and comfortable.
You can catch the show in its UK tour this year
Also, why not have a taster of what to expect thanks to Kitty Tray who is bringing Sharon Needles over for…
Kitty Tray presents Sharon Needles:
An Evening of Rocky Horror Picture Show
On 16th March in Nottingham Pyrzm
DON’T DREAM IT, BE IT!!!!
Written by contributor Nathan Warren