Just a step to the right and The Rocky Horror Show will be landing in Israel, with nightly shows set to run from August 22-27 at the Heichal Hatarbut [Charles Bronfman Auditorium] in Tel Aviv.
Richard O’Brien’s classic stage show is coming to the Holy Land as part of a world tour by the Ambassador Theatre Group, directed by Christopher Luscombe and starring Stephen Webb as Frank-N-Furter, Ore Oduba as Brad Majors, Haley Flaherty as Janet Weiss and Ben Westhead as the titular Rocky. They will be joined by Lauren Ingram as Columbia, Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff, Suzie McAdam as Magenta, and Joe Allen as Eddie and Dr. Scott.
The show, the inspiration for the cult-classic movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, first premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1973. The movie developed its own cult following in Israel, but this is the first time the out-of-this-world stage production has landed here.
What is Rocky Horror?
The show tells the tale of prim-and-proper newlyweds Brad and Janet, who seek refuge “over at the Frankenstein place” after getting stuck in a storm. The couple is hosted by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite mad scientist, who invites them up to his lab to see how he is creating an artificially made, fully grown but scantily clothed man named Rocky.
One of the central parts of both the stage production and the movie is the narrator, who sets the scene throughout much of the movie and guides viewers through the signature “Time Warp” dance.
In this world tour, the production has decided to have a local narrator in each location serve the role and in Israel, it will be filled by fashion designer and singer Yuval Caspin, who will narrate the show in Hebrew. (Although the rest of the cast will speak in English)
Caspin described to The Jerusalem Post how during his time in the IDF he used to go every Saturday morning to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the now-defunct Paris Cinema in Tel Aviv, throwing rice at the screen and shouting the traditional comments back at the characters.
“It came as a surprise for me to get the offer to be the narrator. It’s more than I could have imagined. It’s wonderful, even at the age of 65.”Yuval Caspin
“It came as a surprise for me to get the offer to be the narrator. It’s more than I could have imagined. It’s wonderful, even at the age of 65,” said Caspin.
THE SINGER and fashion designer explained how he had started as a costume designer and only in recent years began performing on television and singing again, with The Rocky Horror Show being a very exciting development in his career.
“You can’t stop dreaming, this is my message in this, because in parallel I’m designing costumes at HaBima at a new show and I’ll be the costume designer of the new show Pretty Woman, and I’m doing music shows and now I’m doing The Rocky Horror Show. Never say never; it’s never too late. I’m very excited. It makes me happy,” said Caspin.
The cult classic movie has a strong following in Israel, with theater showings of the film accompanied by a live cast still taking place throughout the country regularly.
The show is not your run-of-the-mill stage performance, with the audience expected to take an active part in the show with a slew of traditions and sharp comments, and, of course, the classic “Time Warp” dance, although the stage version will not be allowing the traditions of throwing rice and using water guns.
Don’t worry though, both traditional and nontraditional talkback lines (including plenty of words not allowed in the printed press) are still welcomed from the audience at appropriate spots in the show, with Caspin ready to throw back witty responses, though the production’s website cites Roger Rabbit to stress to the audience that “it only works if it’s funny.”
Costumes are also more than welcome at the show, with audiences showing up in everything from surgical gowns and fishnet stockings to jeans and a t-shirt. Just avoid wearing a suit, sandals and definitely avoid sweatshirts with stripes.
“Virgins” (meaning those who haven’t yet been to a live or theater showing of the show, get your mind out of the gutter) can find a variety of guides online, including on the website of The Rocky Horror Show, in order to learn a few of the classic talkback lines and get some inspirations for costumes; but, of course, neither are necessary to have a great time. The gleeful chaos of the show is sure to sweep you up in any case.
Tickets are available starting at NIS 199, with discounts available through El Al’s Matmid frequent flyer program, Bank Leumi’s Goodies program, and through rewards programs for American Express, MAX and Isracard credit cards.