Photos – Belinda Strodder
For anyone familiar with the 1975 movie-musical starring Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Show is a whirlwind adventure into B-Grade science fiction, (an homage to the sci-fi flics of the 1940s-70s) camp kitsch and infectious music.
Since Richard O’Brien created the outrageous masterpiece in the early 70s and brought it life on stage in 1974 with Reg Livermore in the role of the Transsexual Transvestite, Frank N. Furter, the rock and roll musical has gathered an international cult following of epic proportions.
The current production, now reaching its 40th anniversary milestone has at last reached Melbourne after touring the country to sold out audiences and rave reviews.
There is no doubting the presence of crowd favourite Craig McLachan as Frank N. Furter has enticed audiences, as McLachlan revisits the role he originally performed over 20 years ago. Prancing across the stage in nothing but fishnets, corset, heels and a smile, McLachlan has the audience in the palm of his hand and commands the stage from the moment he arrives in spectacular fashion. He purrs, smirks and keeps the audience (and cast!) in fits of hilarity as he brings his own flavor of Frank to the performance.
Joined by Christy Wheelan Browne (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Singin’ In the Rain) as the saccharine sweet Janet and her hapless fiancé Brad, Tim Maddren (Hi-5, The Addams Family Musical), Frank takes the two young lovers on an emotional and sexual journey of self discovery.
Former host of Australia’s Next Top Model, Erika Heynatz is a delightful Magenta whom along with her Quasimodo-esque brother (Kristian Lavercombe) are a wickedly energetic and charismatic pair (a difficult feat for a man in a bald cap).
The over-the-top musical kicks into overdrive from the moment McLachlan arrives in his velvet cape, and the pace remains lightning quick as characters are seduced, betrayed and destroyed within a frenzy of classic show tunes that had the entire audience bopping along.
With incredible dance solos from Ashlea Pyke (Legally Blonde, The Musical) whose sweet sincerity and strong acting skills gave new depth to the oft-referred “groupie” of the show, Columbia. Tim Maddren’s solo in the second act “Once in a While” showed off the actors incredible range as a singer and was a heartfelt serenade that brought a reprieve from the constant madness occurring within Frank’s mansion.
There is nothing about The Rocky Horror Show that is not to love. Pumping tunes that the audience know and love, a deliciously naughty leading man, and the who’s who of Australian talent running the show. The entire cast have pulled out all the stops in this production, and with Melbourne being the last city to house the weird and wonderful creatures of the mansion, audiences can only expect The Rocky Horror Show to get even more delightfully disgraceful as the season winds up.
The Rocky Horror Show
Venue: The Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street Melbouren
Dates: from April 26, 2014
Tickets: from $59.90