When you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for the twisted sci-fi, rock ‘n’ roll grandiosity of Rocky Horror — as I do — and when you’ve seen the movie too many times to count, then it’s hard to resist its evolution and evocation. That includes the uneven but often worthwhile Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Tribue Show, new on DVD today from Kultur.
Actually, the concert-style show isn’t exactly “new.” It was performed and recorded at an intimate but lively theater more than two years ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of the English Stage Company. O’Brien, the stage show’s original writer and Riff Raff, returns to perform briefly, and other Rocky Horror veterans popping up include Patricia Quinn and Little Nell.
But mostly the music is performed by various people who have moved in and out of Rocky Horror’s stage universe over the years — and they’re a mixed lot.
As Dr. Frank, Anthony Head is more of a singer than an actor, but Michael Ball, in the same role, is both, and he’s better in my book. Jo Farrell’s Janet also excels with Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me, and the Time Warp Reprise is an energized full-cast kick.
O’Brien has written some shrewd new narration which advances the plot when read by various actors and sets up the next song. I just wish the song performances had more theatricality and less standing in front of the mic. It’s not that hard to show a little more life, which some do, and others don’t. Even so, ya got me — I love this material, and it’s great to hear it in a loving atmosphere like this.
The no-frills disc has no extras — not even menus — but simply starts playing when loaded. It runs just over an hour, and for much of that time you should be richly entertained if you’re a fan of the show. And if not? Well, to paraphrase Frank, they didn’t make it for you.
No, this is for the many of us who love Rocky Horror and luxuriate in the exquisite pleasure of its nostalgic glow. In fact, the DVD has me singing all those old songs again. Now if only I could teach my kitty that it’s just a jump to the left. Come on — is that so hard?