Rocky at Forty: Roxanne Pallett plays Janet
Are you having fun with the role?
It’s absolutely hysterical every performance. It’s the one show that you can really lose all your inhibitions in and it’s just like a party from beginning to end. From the moment that we all got together for rehearsals, and Richard O’Brien walked in, it’s just been something that’s impossible to put into words. It’s not your typical show. It’s not a straight play, it’s not a musical – I actually think that Rocky Horror is in a genre all of its own.
Also, it’s great to be a part of it because it’s so nostalgic and it’s so iconic and the music – well, it’s a testament to how great the writing is that we’re celebrating its 40th anniversary and we’re playing sell-out shows.
How does it feel being passed around the cast every show?
You know what? I do sometimes feel quite violated because I think it’s only the Narrator who doesn’t get a handful of her. From Brad, to Frank 'N' Furter and then Rocky I pretty much get it on with every man in this cast, but it is part of Janet’s process – her sexual evolution – and we’re having so much fun playing the scenes.
Obviously, we have become a very close-knit group now, but it’s certainly a great ice-breaker when you’ve got to do that type of bed scene and sing songs like “Touch-a ouch-a touch-a touch me” in the first week of rehearsals!
After playing Jo in Emmerdale and getting beaten up in that storyline, my Mum said to me “You don’t half choose these roles” and she’s right. I always seem to play a villain or a victim and with Janet she starts off so fragile and vulnerable and she ends up so corrupt but I love playing extreme characters and it’s even better if there’s physicality to it as well. This summer I did two films and I walked away battered and bruised from doing the stunts on those but I’d be unhappy as an actress if I played bland “vanilla” characters.
Janet’s “sexual evolution”, as you called it, is spectacularly quick!
Oh yes, it really is and I think the costumes help because they are out of this world. I put the pink dress on at the beginning for the wedding scene with Brad, and I’ve gone blonde in this show too, I really do feel like that All-American girl and that really helps to get into the right mindset for that era too.
Also, Ben Forster is my dream leading man. He is perfect in every way. I think that’s why it’s so great to be an actress, you get to work with such talented people and it’s perfectly ok to fall in love with your leading man.
You do have something of the look of Sandra Dee from Grease at the beginning.
You know what, I think, if I did that show, it would be Rizzo that I’d want to play. I am always drawn to the slightly broken character so it’s always the one that is misunderstood or that has a real tempestuous journey to go on or just broken and bruised within.
With Janet I start the show playing the archetypal “prom queen” in a way and then, by the end of the show, she’s been so corrupted. She’s become such a sexual predator that you can’t really go on much more of a journey than that. It’s a bit like playing two different characters in Act One and Act Two.
Are you getting used to all the naughty bits?
Oh yes, I am indeed. I have a great bed scene with Oliver Thornton, as Frank, who I think is just absolutely phenomenal. He really is, he is so comedic and he just doesn’t realise how great he is. He’s just a genius at his craft, so I’m really lucky to be working with him.
Then I’ve got Ben and Rhydian (as Rocky), as well – I’m surrounded by all this testosterone, but they all look better in suspenders and heels than I do! I’m quite upset about that! I look at Ben in his heels and think “Why do look sexier than me?” and then I look at Oliver in his outfits and wonder “Why do you have better legs than me?” – It’s so annoying!