Not last Friday but the Friday before, 7 people gathered at a Restaurant in Belfast City Centre. Their fates from this point on are a little blurry as they became embroiled in a transexual, Transylvanian, extra terrestrial adventure at Belfast's Grand Opera House.
What they do remember is that they had consumed their inter dimensional sonic transducer fuel at Restaurant Olio on Brunswick Street found underneath the Travelodge hotel. It was rather tasty, especially the tangy chili pasta dish that harboured a fair bite. The early evening science fiction double feature at Grand Opera House (GOH) was not long from getting under way as they took to the stairs to find their seats.
Looking around they noticed some people were more scantily clad than others. A Friday night in Belfast often has a few risky numbers on show but with Rocky Horror in town its the men scaring the taxi drivers with revealing outfits. Some of the more dedicated fans seemed a bit cold and should maybe have worn a 3rd sock like the soon to be on stage Brad, but kudos to them for the effort - face paint and all!
Our band of Rocky Horror virgins hadn't really specially dressed for the occasion. Some would say the one known as Simon was representative of the bunch, as he'd seen the movie but only several years ago and couldn't even remember how it ended. At one point they'd all planned to go dressed up, or down as this case would be, he like many thought to be tricky to know what goes, and it had put them off. A shame, but probably the best for their work colleagues. It may have made for an interesting dress down day but a day likely to be followed by a weekend trip to the Job Centre. Basically, like any self respecting virgins, they were playing it safe.
The curtain rose on the back of the opening number and we were introduced to fellow virgins of another kind, Brad and Janet. Soon joining us was a former screen Transylvanian, making a star guest appearance as the Narrator... none other than legend Christopher Biggins.
The show was great - the sexual in your face comedy, whimsical love, hate, life and death plot intertwined with some very talented performers who seemed as dedicated to the interaction with the audience as the audience were to the actors and actresses on stage. Hardly an act went by without those who had either seen the show live already or had just spent too much time looking such things up online (like this rocky horror virgins guide), throwing the lines, that are seemingly now part of the experience, out into the open within the theatre. Our wee band of virgins were soon getting used to this retro new world of musical theatre that brought the actors to the seats and the audience into the show. Somewhat like a Victorian music hall being audio-vibratory-physio-moleculary transported into the Moulin Rouge. The time warp was hardly over before our almost experienced Rocky Horrored contingent were being mesmerised by yet more transvestite shenanigans. For after a quick break they were jumping right back into bed with it. And so they all flew through this new realm, through space and, who knows, perhaps even time itself. It all went very quickly. Frank-N-Furter, Brad, Janet, Riff Raff and Magenta amongst others had ended their tale, the book had closed on the adventure and now Rocky Horror Picture Show virgins no more, 7 people amongst the masses were brought back to Belfast.
As they left even happier than they had arrived those who had gone dressed up spilled out into the streets and as they passed by the city hall on our Bus, it was a great sight to see the rocky horror spirit walking down the street, heading home. Men in corsets and fishnets, women in plastic and leather dresses with the odd Surgeon, Rocky and Riff Raff close by. Our witnesses were glad to see the realities merge and a bit of repression, if only for a fleeting moment, being lifted from the streets of Northern Ireland. So the next time the newly indoctrinated fans of Rock Horror have chance, they'll be getting into the spirit of it... they're already planning their costumes!