Nora Johnson: Happy Birthday, Rocky!

Nora Johnson: Happy Birthday, Rocky!

Image - The Rocky Horror Show: As I Remember It

‘THE Rocky Horror Show’, the longest continuous run of a contemporary musical anywhere in the world – its influence seen everywhere from Halloween costumes to references in movies, TV shows and books – is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Catch the sell-out special anniversary production at London’s Peacock Theatre!

Now, all my books are available in ebook/Apple Book/paperback and audiobook formats. But this wasn’t always so. Imagine my surprise when a well-known, celebrated British actor visiting Spain – Rayner Bourton, who in fact created the role of ‘Rocky’ in the original London production – contacted me. He enjoyed reading my EWN column – especially my novels – and would I like him to record them as audiobooks?

With numerous TV/movie credits to his name, Rayner’s produced all my psychological suspense crime thrillers, each one expertly narrated with authentic accents. Listen yourself to free audio samples on Amazon/Audible of ‘Death in Windermere’ etc (my latest, ‘The Couple across the Street’, will soon be available too!). Additionally, Rayner does considerable ‘voice over’ work, ‘voicing’ The Unseen Elder in ‘Witcher 3’, one of the world’s best-selling computer games.

When I recently asked Rayner what he remembered best about the show he shared two memorable events:

“After the first night performance at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs the British Hollywood actor Vincent Price, who had appeared in countless horror movies and was in the audience, popped his head around the dressing room door and said in his unmistakable voice: ‘Thank you all very much’ and disappeared as quickly as he arrived. He was the first of what would become a nightly procession of ‘star’ names to pop their heads around the dressing door to offer congratulations and thanks for a truly unique theatrical experience.”

“While performing ‘Touch A Touch Me’ at the Theatre Upstairs (where our actual stage depth was less than 3 metres between the first row of the audience and the screen hiding the band), I was spinning around and around while holding Julie Covington (the original Janet) at arm’s length with her head inches from the floor while we were both singing the chorus when, over the music, I heard an enormous crack. I’d slightly got out of position and Julie’s head hit a concrete pillar, which was hidden by the screen. Julie just carried on singing and finished the performance. The next day one side of her face was black and blue that make-up couldn’t disguise. My admiration for her professionalism and talent was and, remains, immense.”

Catch all of Rayner’s unique, first-hand memories in his own audiobook/memoir: “The Rocky Horror Show: As I Remember It”.

One of the most enduring aspects of ‘Rocky’ is its music. The show’s score, composed by Richard O’Brien, features catchy, upbeat tunes instantly recognisable to fans. Songs like ‘Time Warp’, ‘Sweet Transvestite’ and ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’ have become iconic in their own right and often performed at concerts and karaoke events. The show’s soundtrack has sold millions of copies worldwide and continues to be immensely popular with new generations of fans.

In brief, ‘Rocky’ has lasted because the music, lyrics and concepts are unique and the whole work was inspired by genius.

Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at  Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.                                    

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.


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