A new production of the hugely popular musical The Rocky Horror Show got a rocky reception in Chester last night.
A small knot of of religious protesters formed outside Chester’s Storehouse theatre brandishing placards with biblical quotations such as “Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” and “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
As audience members began to arrive to see the camp musical with its themes of cross-dressing, pansexuality and alien invasion the protesters jeered at them, saying that they had “dirty minds.”
It’s not the first time this particular production has come under fire from hardcore Christians.
When the show hit High Wycombe, a Buckinghamshire pastor found himself unable to turn the other cheek, and handed a letter of protest into the Wycombe Swan theatre branding the show ‘a corruption of public decency’.
Pastor Peter Simpson, author of The Biblical Case for Brexit, was unhappy that the show focuses on themes including gender fluidity and homosexuality.
He told Bucks Free Press : “What kind of wholesome fare is going to be served up by a show containing lyrics such as, ‘I’ll get you a satanic mechanic, I’m just a sweet transvestite’?
“A show featuring transvestism will inevitably be contemptuous of Christian morality. Cross-dressing is condemned in the Bible.”
The cast don’t seem too bothered by the flurry of protests. Former Strictly star Joanne Clifton who plays the demure ingenue Janet in the show saw the funny side, tweeting a photo of herself in front of the protest and writing: “”With the protesters! Apparently, according to them we’re all gonna die by Friday because we’re in the Rocky Horror Show!”
The show, which also features Blue’s Duncan James as polymorphously perverse alien scientist Dr Frank N Furter, is touring the UK until late November.
A social media post from the Chester theatre commented: “We celebrate and support LGBTQ+ communities – always. “
The Rocky Horror Show premiered in June 1973 and has since played to rapturous audiences around the world. The original production ran for a total of 2,960 performances and won the 1973 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical.
The film of the show has the longest-running cinema release in film history.
By Michael Moran