Entertainment & Arts

Rocky Horror sequel set for London

Shock Treatment Image copyright other
Image caption The 1981 film of Shock Treatment was called an "equal-sequel" but lacked most of Rocky Horror's original cast

Richard O'Brien is to turn his flop sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show into a stage production in London.

Shock Treatment, originally filmed in 1981, was a satire of celebrity, with Rocky Horror characters Brad and Janet trapped in a sinister TV game show.

It was a commercial disaster - The Washington Post called it "ludicrous" - and it never gained a general release.

O'Brien has reworked the story for its stage debut, which will take place at London's King's Head Theatre in April.

"Shock Treatment has been waiting patiently in the wings for a stage premiere since the film was released in 1981," said O'Brien.

"Just as Rocky began life upstairs at the Royal Court, it seems a perfect fit for Shock Treatment to start its stage life in the effervescent atmosphere of the astounding King's Head Theatre."

Before its DVD release in 2006, very few people had seen Shock Treatment. One exception was the BBC's Mark Kermode, who called it the "perfect cult movie".

"It's arguable the soundtrack album is better than Rocky Horror," he said.

"It's also packed with cameo roles from people on the rise - not just Ruby Wax but Rik Mayall, long before he found big screen fame in Drop Dead Fred.

"But the best thing about Shock Treatment is it eerily predicts the rise of reality television," he added.

Kermode's opinion was in the minority, however. US reviewers lamented the loss of Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon, who played Brad and Janet in the original. and branded the film "tiresome" and "junk".

"It's a lesson for film-makers: You can't force a cult film, they just happen," wrote The Washington Post's reviewer, Rita Kempley.

Shock Treatment is preceded at the King's Head Theatre by the 21st anniversary revival of Trainspotting, which was first seen at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

Other highlights of the theatre's new season include a new play by Richard Cameron, The Flannelettes, and a revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore.

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