Interview Perry Bedden
Perry Bedden recently honored Play It Again...Rocky with an interview. He has an amazing Rocky Horror history and has some great stories to tell. Enjoy!
You have a rich history with Rocky Horror. Besides being involved with
the filming of the movie as a Transylvania and your role as the camera man
in Neely's crew in Shock Treatment what other involvement with Rocky have
you had? How many productions of the stage-show have you been in and only
as Riff or have you ever played any other roles?
Perry: I was in at the very beginning of the Rocky phenomenon, not in the play at first, but because of my involvement with Jesus Christ Superstar directed by Jim Sharman and designed by Brian Thomson. The original London production of Superstar also had Richard O'Brien & Pamela Obermier. My first appearance with Rocky started at the Kings Road Theatre in 1976 - oh happy days!...and ended 6 years later in Adelaide, Australia. In between these 2 productions I also appeared in the first West End production at The Comedy Theatre. I was also in a touring production of Germany.
As to any other roles I played? I was first cover for Frank and appeared several times in the Australian productions playing him
You have stated in "From Concept to Cult" that you had grown tired of
acting in the stage show. Was this because you were just genuinely tired of
the role or because of what the show had become?
Perry: I was very tired of the show. I first went into the play in 1976 came out of it in 77. I thought that was it. In 1980(I think) I was asked to return to the role of Riff Raff on a 3 months contract. The 3 months ran into 9 months. With no break I went off to Germany and played a tour of Germany that folded after about 2 weeks, due to producer problems. We certainly were pulling them in though. Then off to Australia. You'd think that being in Oz, that had already had their own production, I would be safe - oh no! Again I was asked to play Riff and it went on & on like this. I did a huge tour of Australia and it takes it out of you traveling all the time. It may have all seemed glamorous but at that point in my life I was so unhappy! I was consumed day & night with Rocky for, I would say, 7 years - but it still lurks there in the background.
Here I am 30 years on at my computer typing away about - you know what!
I'm even seeing Rocky's first night in the West End on 23rd June. I still grabs you by the balls!!
Rocky Horror has opened doors for many people, is there anything that you
were able to do because of the phenomena that you are grateful for?
Perry: At the time it was just a job and by the time the cult thing in America happened I was well away.
What is your greatest accomplishment (Theatre or otherwise)?
Perry: Being able to say "NO"
What is your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Perry: There have been several, but this one was pretty good. At the Kings Road Theatre, Riff steps onto the catwalk that ran down the left hand side of the theatre, for "Franknfurter it's all over" in the space costume. Well, as I started singing I got myself into position and realized something went "ping"! under my spacesuit. I had not really worked out what it was and was dreading the walk down the catwalk after Frank had finished "I'm going Home" There was nothing I could do as the gun I had was so heavy it needed both hands to lift the thing, plus I was in a very vulnerable position, so close to the audience. So I'm going Home finishes and off I stride : "And also presumptuous of you", etc., etc., and I can feel something moving down my legs, by the time I got to the stage the audience were in hysterics! They knew before me - the elastic in the suspender belt had snapped and sitting around my ankles were the belt and my fishnets! I couldn't move with them there so I ripped them off and through them into the audience where a sea of hands tried to grab them, then that got applause. I can smile now, but waiting for Frank's song to be over, knowing something was wrong, but not really knowing what, was extremely worrying. I suppose it could have been worse...........????
Did you get a chance to see the Broadway revival of Rocky? How do you
feel about the idea of a revival?
Perry: I didn't see the Broadway revival but have seen the current National Tour here in the UK.
It's far removed from the play I did, but back then we did very small venues. Since it's first move into the Proscenium arch, "Proper Theatres" it lost it's innocence. But hey, we all live in a commercial world and Rocky still has an audience...this current UK tour has been the most successful tour to date, and there have been a few. It's commercial theatre today. That's fine.
Do you find that the American fans react differently to you then the
Perry: The fans react the same way wherever you are, but there are not that many British fans, as I believe the movie doesn't show in many theatres here
What do you do for fun or relaxation?
Perry: I still sing and have just joined London's Equity Choir that I find very relaxing, When we're performing that is. It can be quite stressful rehearsing.
If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be?
Perry: My Mother (Aaaah!)
And one more personal question to conclude-do you have a significant
Perry: Yes I do.....he looks at me every morning from the bathroom mirror!
That's All Folks!!