“Rayner your book is a wonderful read. It was a pleasure to relive that small window
Richard O´Brien , “Riff Raff” , Creator/Author
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
"It's the first night revisited and if you weren't there you will be now. It's hilarious!
A must! A seventies dream! If you don't have this - don't build a bookshelf!"
~ Patricia Quinn, London - 24 June 2009
Essential reading for all Rocky Horror fans! ~ P.Q.
"For any Rocky Horror fan this is a must read. A clear, detailed and fascinating
account of what happened from audition to rehearsals, opening night, the clever Jonathan
King producing an instant cast recording and its travels along the Kings Road and
The book is a complete joy, I so enjoyed it, and it's packed with fascinating detail.
Time and again you've answered questions that I've always had about the piece, and
there were so many brilliant anecdotes that I've never heard before. It's also a
wonderful evocation of the 70s, and the whole world of the King's Road at that time.
Thanks again for all the pleasure the book has given me. I'm sure it'll be a huge
hit with anyone who has an interest in Rocky Horror - or indeed theatre of that period.
Director - National UK Tour of “The Rocky Horror Show” 2009/2010
Rayner Bourton, original Rocky Horror and all round nice guy, has released a wonderful
new book with his memories of the early days of The Rocky Horror Show.
The book has a little quote on the front cover of "If you can remember it you weren't
really there." Wrong! I can remember it and I was really there. He certainly was
and the book gives a brilliant insight from the first auditions though the original
Theatre Upstairs production to the Kings Road shows.
For the true Rocky fans this book is a mine of information, with many descriptions
of how the show evolved from the first drafts to the polished article that opened
on 19th June 1973. A good example there, we've always put the birth of Rocky and
the first shows as the 16th June, and Rayner points out that was indeed the date
of the first preview of the show, with the actual first night performance on the
19th June, 1973. (We've updated our calendar accordingly)
The Rocky Horror Show: As I Remember It - Rayner Bourton. Included are several pages
of black and white images of the early days of the show and some of the original
All I can say is I love this book, Rayner's style of writing brings you into the
events to a level where you feel you are almost there, watching events unfold before
you. The book is also very honest in tone and expands on many of the stories he has
told at the conventions of the 90's and 00's. The world famous "Glitter under the
foreskin" story is told in full to the level where the sensitive amongst you might
cringe a little at the details!
This book is a Rocky Horror fan's dream come true!! For the first time ever we finally
have a document of the original production. Every time anyone has ever written
about the original Theatre Upstairs production, it's always the same recycled information,
and most of the people who write about Rocky Horror weren't actually there to see
it in 1973. It's so wonderful to actually have something new to read that actually
sheds new light on the show, but the other thing that's so wonderful is how it takes
us from rehearsals all the way through to the Classic so that we learn all about
the inner workings of putting on a fringe musical.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading this book. The writing style is so
remarkable I'm surprised Rayner hasn’t written anything sooner!! I love how he made
it very enjoyable and presented everything so it flows well without coming off sounding
like a textbook. I really love how he injected humor into so many parts of the book---I
laughed out loud at several passages. I also love how he didn't make it a "tell-all"
biography where it's all gossip and talking people down.
While reading this I actually felt like I was right there with you and it was 1973
again. Fans of the film can turn on the DVD anytime they want to see the movie but
fans of the show don't have that luxury. As you mentioned in the book, only a very
fortunate few were able to see the original Theatre Upstairs production. If we want
to enjoy the Original Cast the only thing we have at our disposal is the London Cast
Album (no complaints there) but with this book we now have a chronicle of how everything
I loved the pieces that included about the parts of the original script that were
changed. There was so much I learned---I always wondered why Rayer sang Sword Of
Damocles in a falsetto and then a deeper voice for Rose Tint My World and now I know
why!!! I also enjoyed learning all about how the set was constructed and how everyone
worked together to make the show what it was. I'm so envious--I wish I could have
been there to see it!
I will be telling EVERYONE I know that they have to buy this book. I will probably
sit down and start reading it again tonight just to make sure I didn't miss anything
the first time around.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to write it and share all your experiences----I'm
ready for the next book!!
I ***LOVED*** it. You did an amazing job! Kevin J.Boycik COSMO´S FACTORY
There is some air of mystique surrounding the beginnings of Richard O´Brien´s cult
masterpiece. Devoted fans - of which there are many - will know of course that the
show began on a very small stage at the RoyalCourtTheatre in London´s Sloane Square.
Quickly gathering momentum and becoming THE must-see show, it was soon transferred
down the road to the Chelsea Classic´s larger premises. The celluloid version soon
followed; the essential, low-budget B-movie parody which is synonymous with rock`n´roll,
dressing up, glamorously ambiguous sexuality and generally letting your hair down
and having a damn good time.
But there has always been a desire to know more, more, more about this magical period
when none of these talented young actors had any clue that they were starting out
on such an extraordinary journey. Crystal clear memories of those very early days
seem to have been somewhat lost under a veil of glitter and fishnets, until now.
Rayner Bourton´s ,The Rocky Horror Show: As I Remember It´ is a treasure trove of
comprehensive and absorbing recollections of his experiences as the original Rocky.
Full of amusing anecdotes and endearing first impressions of his fellow cast members,
Rayner takes the reader on a fascinating journey which bounces along at a sprightly
pace and makes for very pleasing reading.
Rayner´s writing is refreshing and honest; his recollections of being a handsome
young man in a very swinging London and his numerous conquests are particularly engaging!
He writes elegantly, and shows respect and genuine affection for his fellow cast
members , in particular Patricia Quinn who is mentioned throughout. This book will
please Rocky Horror fans old and new- the sheer excitement of that nirvana-like opening
night in 1973 is tangible and the now infamous “glitter incident” is described with
eye-watering, startling clarity.
But there is more to this tale than Rocky. Rayner eloquently conveys his experience
of city life during the Seventies; the people, parties, places and attitudes. Clearly
he does not need to write solely about Rocky to capture the reader´s interest and
the emphasis is always on how much fun was had throughout the period. This is an
immensely enjoyable book which is beyond any doubt, required reading for all fans
of Rocky Horror.
Reviewed by Michael Coveney , for “What´s on Stage” July 2009
When the English Stage Company at the Royal Court celebrated its fiftieth anniversary
three years ago, The Rocky Horror Show was voted the audience favourite ahead of
anything by John Osborne, Edward Bond or David Storey.
This must have surprised anyone who thought that the Rocky Horror Show was a cult
film that sometimes crops up on the touring circuit and indeed the West End, not
to mention all over the world.
Now the original Rocky, Rayner Bourton, has told the whole story from auditions and
rehearsals through to opening night in the Theatre Upstairs at 10.30pm on 19th June
1973. And I was there!
I wasn’t reviewing that night, but accompanying a Financial Times colleague, Garry
O’Connor, who was. We had spent the first part of the evening watching Ian Holm and
Coral Browne in Bond’s The Sea downstairs on the main stage.
Nobody really knew what to expect, though something was palpably up when Tim Curry
in leather hose and black suspender belt crawled lubriciously across the little theatre’s
ceiling on a steel gantry and Richard O’Brien’s music thumped into full tranvestite
Rayner was an unbelievably beautiful, perfectly blond Rocky, tall and lissom and
glistening in a gold jock strap. When he turned up at the anniversary tribute show,
he’d happily left his Dorian Gray portrait in the attic at home. He’d aged with grace
and dignity and I later discovered that he’d been producing jazz and solo shows on
tour round the country.
It’s been an interesting career but the book proves that The Rocky Show completely
defined his professional life in the way it has done for so many of those involved.
Mind you, he’d already sported a jock strap or two on stage as a regular in the early
days of the Glasgow Citizens under Giles Havergal and Philip Prowse, most notably
in a gorgeously homo-erotic Troilus and Cressida also featuring Mike Gwylim, Di Trevis,
David Hayman and Jeffrey Kissoon.
He wrote a short-lived West End musical about the Rolling Stones, toured New Zealand
with Gary Glitter and even played the Curry role of Frank ‘N Furter in Chelmsford.
The book, The Rocky Horror Show: As I Remember It, will obviously feature at all
future Rocky Horror revivals and conventions, and feed fan club frenzy in perpetuity.
But it’s invaluable, too, as a rare, and very funny, production notebook — and an
evocative memoir of a young Birmingham boy suddenly thrust into a West End world
of celebrity, sex on tap and rock and roll. Now you really can do the time warp
Michael Coveney ,
R icha rd
Michael Coveney writes for The Guardian and has written about theatre for over three
decades, as editor of Plays and Players, and as staff drama critic on the Financial
Times, the Observer and the Daily Mail - and he was there on the first night in 1973