londonlogo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Was Great When It All Began

Opened at the Royal Court's 63-seat Theatre Upstairs 19 June 1973 - 20 July 1973 transferred to 230-seat Chelsea Classic Cinema King's Road 14 August 1973 - 20 October 1973 transferred to 500-seat King's Road Theatre (another cinema) Kings Road 3 November 1973 - 31 March 1979 - final transfer Comedy Theatre West End April 6 1979 - 13 September 1980. Performances: 2960

Production Details

Book, Music & Lyrics by Richard O'Brien
Original Music and Arrangements by Richard Hartley

Directed by Jim Sharman
Production Design - Brian Thomson
Costumes - Sue Blane

Lighting - Gerry Jenkinson


Principal Cast
Dr. Frank-N-Furter : Tim Curry later Philip Sayer (1946-1989), Ziggy Byfield
Janet Weiss : Julie Covington (previews), Belinda Sinclair
Brad Majors : Christopher Malcolm, James Warwick
Riff-Raff : Richard O'Brien, Robert Longden
Usherette/Magenta : Patricia Quinn later Angela Bruce
Columbia : Nell Campbell later Anna Nygh
Eddie/Dr. Scott : Paddy O'Hagan, Ziggy Byfield
Rocky Horror : Rayner Bourton, Andrew Bradford, Ben Bazell
The Narrator : Jonathan Adams

 

 

 

 

The Band
Richard Hartley : keyboards
Count Iain Blair : guitar
Dennis Cowan : bass
Phil Kenzie : saxophone
Martin Fitzgibbon : drums

 

The Theatre Upstairs

nursegrab

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW

Programme Cover

 

lon pro

 

   

 

Superstar's Australian director Jim Sharman, was asked to do a play in the main house of the Royal Court Theatre, London. Sharman chose, instead, to workshop the musical Richard O'Brien had been writing.

To cover the costs of trialling the show, a tape of Richard O'Brien singing "Science Fiction/ Double Feature" (the opening song) made its way to the desk of Michael White who had produced a London version of "Oh! Calcutta". White became fascinated with the tape and story concept, and agreed to sponsor the production.

The play opened at the Royal Court's experimental Theatre Upstairs as a six-week workshop project in June of 1973 to fantastic reviews and packed houses of 60 or so people a night. After its initial 6 weeks, Australian Brian Thomson designed the look of the show and decided it should be performed in decaying cinemas and the show moved to the Classic Cinema Chelsea. A last gasp of a soon to be demolished movie house. The idea was that the cinema was throwing up, all the double features it had seen, through the fantasy of an usherette. The cinema itself, providing the props, with characters who used the cinema screen, coke machine and scaffolding to invoke a castle.
He made the decision to have Frank enter from the back of the auditorium, so the bang of the doors would make the audience swing around to see him strut down a ramp that reached onto the stage.
An Australian Director, Australian Designer, Nell Campbell's outrageous Australian accent, the writer growing up in New Zealand, and all raised on double features, it was an Antipodal creation that Londoners could relate to. After years of Barry Humphries, Rolf Harris, Barry McKenzie, and the sexy exploitation films of the late 60s early 70s, their tastes had already been corrupted, with Australian sensibilities - unlike the USA, who didn't have a clue.
The nude show Oh! Calcutta, had already broken boundaries, Rocky fitted right in. Audiences expected to be confronted, entertainment was message driven, or at least thought provoking. Religion, conscription, and now the sexual revolution's turn. Just as I Am Woman, came from Australia to be the anthem of female liberty, Rocky Horror's roots Downunder are obvious to those who have experience.


A descriptive and pictorial trip through the Original London Cast show!

 

 

 

bs

Belinda Sinclair

Richard O'Brien and Michael White

lgLondon1973lgr

Original 1973 Workshop Programme

pat

Patricia Quinn

 

covington

Julie Covington as Janet

Nell Campbell as Columbia

tim lab lond

Tim Curry lobby photo

frank curry

Rayner Bourton

Filmstrip images supplied by Larry Viezel

filmstrip

The Classic Cinema

classic

classicin

eddies teddy

group

fr2frank colour

 

Jonathan Adams

1973

montage

rockyriff

col

frank

classic advert

Belinda Sinclair as Janet

undress

undress 2

nell

lstimlonls

tim

twbackstage73tw 1973

 

When the show moved to The Comedy Theatre in 1979, it no longer played in a cinema, but a theatre with a balcony. The staging had to be changed from partly taking place in the audience, with a catwalk, to being entirely on stage, losing Frank's signature entrance through the back auditorium door. Although the sets remained faithful to Brian Thomson's designs, the show was redirected by Sharman to accomodate it's new setting.
rf

Many ex-cast members, including Tim Curry and Little Nell, appeared in a musical series called ROCK FOLLIES, that ran in 1976 and 1977 on British and Australian TV

london review 1frankiereview 2

londonfranklon

Angela Bruce as Magenta with Richard O'Brien and Little Nell

londonsuper

t-shirt

First T-Shirt

headclassicchead

1973 Cast Replacements for Magenta and Rocky Classic Cinema

classic2

stuffclassicstuff

Show transfer

First Kings Road Programme October 1973

KINGS ROAD THEATRE 1974 Cast - Tim Curry replaced by Philip Sayer

krffront

kr74

longden

Robert Longden as Riff Raff in 1974 (Image supplied by Adam Jay)

1974

Supplied by Pazuzu

From the COLLECTION OF THE BEEJ

psps

PHILIP SAYER AS FRANK

mag

Photographs below, supplied by Larry Viezel

angela

ANGELA BRUCE

siblings

ta da

gun

philline

ps

Photos supplied by Jon Fabian

ps floor

wlps01wl

londonposterkings roadred

1975

USHzig

Ziggy 1975 in his Japan Tour travel outfit

1976

Perry Bedden as Riff Raff

zb

Ziggy Byfield (who had previously been Eddie/Dr. Scott) as Frank and company

make up

ziggy

1976

backstage

Backstage King's Road 1976

Frank Played by Peter Blake - I went into The King's Road production as 'Frank' in 1974.  

The lunacy of "alternative dialogue" and all the nonsense that went with it had yet to rear its indulgent head.

new cast pb

1977

kings road 1978

Larry Whitehurst

Larry Whitehurst

advert

1978

lskingsls

1976

lscomedyls

comcups

brochure

From the 1979 Comedy Theatre Souvenir Brochure:

richard on richard

1979

pblakelive

PETER BLAKE: This time, the first 'West-End' production at The Comedy Theatre, re-staged by the original director, Jim Sharman. It was only towards the end of this run that we noticed a strange phenomenon; American tourists who seemed to think they were part of the show  started shouting out stuff, much to their own amusement ...

We just thought they were twats

 

ctl

rht

Opened 6th April 1979

Principal Cast
Dr. Frank-N-Furter : Peter Blake later Neil McCaul, ending with Daniel Abineri
Janet Weiss : Pippa Hardman
Brad Majors : Frederick Marks
Riff-Raff : Neil McCaul later Perry Bedden
Usherette/Magenta : Kathryn Drew
Columbia : Melanie Wallis
Eddie/Dr. Scott : Nick Llewellyn
Rocky Horror : Jeremy Gittens
The Narrator : George Little

Ushers, Backing Vocals : Julian Ashton, Jane Hayward, Gary Martin, Colen Marsh, Tessa Wood, Roger Tebb

Band
M.D./Piano/Organ - Peter Russell Brewis/Karl Wallinger
Electric/Acoustic Guitar - Derek Griffiths
Drums - Tony Hicks
Bass Guitar - Brent Forbes
Tenor Sax - Geoff Driscoll

ctg

Assistant Director -

Neil McCaul as Frank

ab cast

Final Principal Cast
Dr. Frank-N-Furter : Daniel Abineri
Janet Weiss : Kay Parkes
Brad Majors : Steve Devereaux
Riff-Raff : Perry Bedden
Usherette/Magenta : Leni Harper
Columbia : Melanie Wallis
Eddie/Dr. Scott : Gary Olsen
Rocky Horror :Gary Martin
The Narrator : George Little

Ushers, Backing Vocals : Eric Nordell, Colen Marsh, Tessa Wood, Roger Tebb

 

The final London Cast

abineri and martin

Perry Bedden as Riff Raff, a role he reprised in Australia in 1981

lspbcomedytheatreposterls01

makeup

London's last Frank: Daniel Abineri

After the end of the original run, a semi-professional group The Royal Hanley had success with a 6 year run.

Although I find their interpretation to be below standard, it's worth a look for comparison.

The Original Cast Recording

LP London

 

 

 

The album was recorded in a day, during the original workshop period. The sound is raw and unpolished, as the show was. Eddie's Teddy was added when the show moved to Chelsea, and therefore isn't on this recording. The offical logo, writing and finished show were weeks away, and so this is a peek into the roots of Rocky.

The Original Australian Cast recording, has a more polished sound, but stays true to the rawness of the original. Together the two recordings convey the show, as it was meant to be.

The Roxy Cast recording wasn't popular in either Britain or Australia, and so the film soundtrack was a huge step in the commercialising of the arrangements for those two nations. Americans were treated to a "pop" cast recording with arrangements that are not too dissimilar from the Motion Picture, but were not actually used on stage anywhere.

 

 

 

bride

©2015 Mark Jabara Ellison Productions