Profile: Richard O'Brien
To celebrate the brief return of The Rocky Horror Show to the capital, we look at the career of the show’s writer Richard O’Brien, who returns to the stage in the production to play the narrator.
O’Brien is best known for The Rocky Horror Show and classic 90s game show The Crystal Maze, but his career has also seen him appear onstage in a range of theatrical productions, whilst also making his way to the screen as well.
Born in Gloucestershire in 1942, O’Brien actually spent his early life in New Zealand but returned to England to start his career as an actor. It was back home soil that he took acting classes and headed to the stage, a place in which he has continued to perform ever since.
By the time the 1970s came along he was appearing in various high profile shows and prior to the enormous success he found with The Rocky Horror Show he appeared in the likes of Jesus Christ Superstar.
But it was The Rocky Horror Show that landed him his biggest success. Working with his director from Jesus Christ Superstar, Jim Sharman, he created something that would become a cultural phenomenon. It first opened at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs back in 1973 and it has since been seen in the West End and around the world. Its return to the capital is always met with much fanfare.
He was also co-writer on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which also became a huge success, introducing the story to a larger audience and ensuring songs like the Time Warp would be sung for years to come.
As the years went on O’Brien penned more musicals and also appeared in films like Flash Gordon, but it was the Channel 4 game shoe The Crystal Maze that landed him his next success. The series ran in the early 90s and saw O’Brien lead contestants through themed world and tasks.
Since then he has continued to appear on the stage and in 2015 returns to The Rocky Horror show in London. The production runs at the Playhouse Theatre.