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Theatre Review: The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show

Written and Created by Richard O’Brien

Directed by Christopher Luscombe

Choreographer Nathan M. Wright

Theatre Royal until May 5

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

The Rocky Horror Show

It’s been 50 years since I saw the first Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show at the New Arts Cinema in Glebe. That memorable and innovative experience starred Reg Livermore, Kate Fitzpatrick, Jane Harders, John Paramor, Sal Sharah, Maureen Elkner, Graham Matters and Arthur Dignam. With all of that talent under the direction of Jim Sharman, we won’t see another production like it.

That stated, I never tire of seeing good interpretations of the show.

The latest touring production has re-opened at the Theatre Royal.

The castings in all of the other productions have been strictly "white bread", but this one has diversity. Janet is beautifully played by Singaporean triple threat Deirdre Khoo, who has a sweet and strong yet innocent singing voice. Last year Rocky was gay, black and was played by Jamaican Loredo Malcolm. Now the character is white and is well portrayed by Daniel Erbacher.

As Brad, Blake Bowden looks a lot like Rick Moranis and makes the most of his opportunities to shine.

The Rocky Horror Show Sydney

Jason Donovan’s Frank-N-Furter is like the Tim Curry version and he has toned down Frank’s usually forceful sex appeal. 

A feature for me is Henry Rollo as Riff Raff, who could be any or all genders. He sounds like a young Boris Karloff and every time he’s on stage, eyes go straight to him. Richard O’Brien would definitely approve.

Another powerful performance is turned in by Stellar Perry as Magenta and the Usherette. Ellis Dolan is Eddie and Dr Scott. As the latter, he looks a lot like Kevin Rudd.The multi-talented Darcey Eagle is adorable as the energetic and innocent Columbia.

As always, the music will have you going. All of the songs are there: Science Fiction, Damn It, Janet, Sweet Transvestite, I Can Make You a Man, Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me, Going Home, and of course, The Time Warp.

I found the contrived, scripted audience interjections irritating and distracting. I know several people who regularly attended the midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Hoyts, dressed up and participated in the showings but that same atmosphere cannot be recreated with this stage version.

The Rocky Horror Show

The highlight on opening night for me was at the after party when Maureen Elkner who played Columbia in the first Australian production in 1974 had a fascinating, in-depth chat with Darcey Eagle, the latest Columbia 50 years on.

Having sensed that the producers are casting the Narrator role with the box office in mind, I was apprehensive about Dylan Alcott being in the show. Can sports people act and do comedy, especially on stage where the timing has to be spot-on? Have you ever seen the footy shows on Nine and Fox? 

Alcott doesn’t “act” as the Narrator, he is the Narrator and like everything else that he does, he brilliantly makes the role his own and his turn in the finale is alone worth the price of admission, so book before his part finishes on April 17.


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