Richard O'Brien W. Stephen Gilbert - Essay

W. Stephen Gilbert

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

T. Zee looks so thin and mean that one goes back to one's enjoyment of Rocky Horror, fearful of the temptation to rewrite history and say it wasn't so…. Richard O'Brien has done exactly the same silly trick that old-fashioned pop stars used to do; he's tried to pull off the mix as before. So Frank-n-furter, Brad and Janet, Rocky, Eddie and the AC/DC strain from the first show have become Bone Idol, Eugene and Alison, T. Zee, Dr Death and a touch of S'n'M in the second. Except, of course, that the second lot both lack the element of surprise and are pale shadows of their precursors….

It may be that Rocky Horror itself had no substance but it seemed to crystallise a moment…. T. Zee, however, is prey to false starts and dead ends—or, at least, it allows false starts and dead ends to reveal themselves all over the project….

The show brings on a gaggle of mutants and then spends half the evening wondering what to do with them. It takes the Tarzan legend as a readymade and then goes no further than the assertion of it, leaving T. Zee an inchoate cypher compared to the wholly original Rocky Horror….

[The] application of the cast is not enough to hide the emptiness of the project and the audience, resolutely unmoved throughout, file out at the end as silent as if from a funeral. T. Zee is a melancholy event—an anachronism, all camped up and nowhere to go.

W. Stephen Gilbert, "Reviews: 'T. Zee'" (© copyright W. Stephen Gilbert 1976; reprinted with permission), in Plays and Players, Vol. 24, No. 1, October, 1976, p. 26.