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I want everyone to leave the theatre feeling better than when they came in; ROCKY HORROR CREATOR BRINGS NEW SHOW TO SCOTLAND.


WHEN you meet Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien, it's almost impossible not to jump to the left, step to the right, put your hands on your hips, bring your knees in tight and do some pelvic thrusts.

It was tough, but I managed to resist doing the Time Warp again.

The man who devised Rocky Horror's iconic dance routine and its hero Frank N Furter - the "sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvannia" - is launching his new musical The Stripper in Glasgow.

He will star in the show - based on a pulp detective novel - with former Coronation Street actor Jonathan Wrather at the King's Theatre next month. If it is a fraction as successful as his 1973 hit The Rocky Horror Show and its 1975 movie version, he will be quids in.

Richard, 67, said: "I wrote it 25 years ago but I revisited it and decided it was time to do something. I insisted on putting the show on in Glasgow because audiences there are very committed.

"They'll give me a true reading of the musical and I should know if I was right - or if I've been deluding myself."

Richard also has a new production of The Rocky Horror Show - starring ex-Holby City actor David Bedella - at the King's in November.

Richard's idea was to do a show on a shoestring after starring in a pounds 7million version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in London's West End.

He said of The Stripper: "It's a populist show. I want people who spend money to come to a theatre and leave feeling a bit better than when they came in."

Richard cast Jonathan in the lead as Lieutenant Al Wheeler - a cop who investigates the death of an actress - after hearing him sing at a charity event. He added: "We raise money for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, and showbiz friends, including Jonathan, get up and sing a few jazz standards. I discovered what a good voice he had."

Richard made his acting debut in the 1965 movie Carry On Cowboy as a horse-riding stunt man.

He also starred in the '60s production of rock musical Hair and became friends with Scottish rock legend Alex Harvey, who played guitar in the house band.

Richard said: "Alex was a dear friend. In 1977, we made an album together - The Loch Ness Monster.

"I always knew Alex would be a star. There was something irrepressible about him."

In 1990, Richard hosted the hit Channel 4 quiz series The Crystal Maze. He added: "I also appeared in panto and discovered the great joy of playing to children.

"When I played the Child Catcher in Chitty I was terrifying on that stage.

"But I insisted I would not send any child home to have a nightmare. When we took our curtain call I had the children in the cast come to me. That way the audience realised it was all just make-believe."

Any conversation with Richard eventually rests on The Rocky Horror Show which has been in continuous production since 1973.

The film version - which starred Tim Curry as Frank N Furter, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, Meat Loaf as Eddie and Richard as hunchbacked handyman Riff Raff - has become a phenomenon.

Richard said: "I grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand, after my family emigrated in 1951 - and enjoyed many a late night in my local cinema, the Empire.

"I'd watch old B-movies. The worse they were, the better it was."

The 1973 stage version of Rocky Horror - starring Tim and Richard - earned rave reviews in London. But it was the film which wowed audiences around the world.

Richard said: "I had no idea what a phenomenon Rocky would become. Frank N Furter was not quite male and not quite female but he IS God-like. He's got the qualities of Richard III and Cruella de Vil.

"It took courage for Tim to stand on stage wearing stockings and suspenders, and sing: 'I'm just a sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvannia'."

A measure of the show's enduring appeal is a 25ft-high bronze statue of Richard - as Riff Raff- erected on the Empire site in 2004.

"How many people can say they've got their own statue?" he boasted. "I was overawed." The Stripper is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, from September 29 until October 3. The Rocky Horror Show is at the venue from November 23-28.


Rocky ride: Richard, top right, on stage with singer Alex Harvey, middle, and ex-Corrie star Jonathan, bottom
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 9, 2009
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