Richard O'Brien Allan Jones - Essay

Allan Jones

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[T. Zee] is a chaotic, intermittently amusing production that exploits the styles and myths of Hollywood culture as gratuitously as its predecessor, The Rocky Horror Show, but critically lacks that work's definition and occasionally astute satire.

Briefly, T. Zee is a simple morality tale that dramatises the inevitable and eternal conflict between good and evil. O'Brien tarts up this novel theme by setting the action in a neon underworld into which Los Angeles has crashed after an apocalyptic earthquake….

O'Brien's scenario is so confused and lacking in substantial humour that one is plunged after the opening scenes into complete and utter tedium….

It is disappointing that O'Brien has so closely adhered to the successful format of The Rocky Horror Show—apart from a few deviancies the plots are identical in structure—with its infatuation with B-movie Americana and stylised decadence, and refused, apparently, to apply his undoubted talents to a more original concept….

[There] are moments where, in the verbal, visual and musical cross-fire, one of the targets at which O'Brien, and his collaborator Richard Hartley, is aiming, is hit with sardonic accuracy….

Ultimately, the reason for the show's failure must rest with O'Brien's script and its paucity of imaginative ideas, and the inferior score, composed by O'Brien and Hartley, which consists largely of parodies of country and western songs and the predictable rock and roll pastiche which O'Brien exploited successfully in Rocky Horror.

Allan Jones, "'T. Zee'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), August 21, 1976, p. 39.