As a fan of The Rocky Horror Show, I was extremely keen to see the sequel – or “equal” – at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington. Shock Treatment stars Brad and Janet from the original Rocky Horror; they are having marital problems and sign up for a reality TV show, only for Brad (Ben Kerr) to be threatened with ECT and Janet to be transformed into a glamorous TV star, Julie Atherton giving it her all in a superb performance.
The show is adapted by Tom Crowley from the script of the original film, written by Richard O’Brien who also created The Rocky Horror Show. His input shows: Shock Treatment has the same quirky madcap style, reminiscent of B movies but a satirical edge. In the modern world of reality TV shows like Big Brother, it works well.
Pete Gallagher, replacing Mark Little as Farley Flavors, commands the stage during his scenes but my favourite was Mateo Oxley, the permatanned and terrifyingly self-obsessed TV presenter Ralph Hapschatt. The larger-than-life characters often break free of the set, appearing from the door at the back of the entrance and dancing along the aisle. A couple of lucky audience members get Julie Atherton perched on their knee.
The music is as fun and exuberant as you’d expect from the writer of The Rocky Horror Show. “Little Black Dress” is clearly meant to be Shock Treatment‘s “Time Warp”, and while it’s not as distinctive, it’s still catchy and fun.
If you’re a fan of the original Rocky Horror Show, Shock Treatment is a must-see, and even if you’ve never seen the original, this show is a brilliant night out.