Rocky Horror Show is 50 years young and its legendary status shows no signs of waning. Richard O’Brien’s writing and the characters he developed in the early 1970s still pack a punch. Fans, old and new, will find themselves thoroughly engaged in the raucous and riotous plot. It is unflinchingly libidinous and is not to missed.
The cast is spectacular. Each character is perfectly cast, selected based on their ability to make the role their own while honouring the legacy that precedes them. These characters are well loved and getting it wrong on any level would doom the entire show. But this troupe of culturally diverse humans have talent that is rich and gorgeous as they portray transvestite, pansexual aliens, Frankenstined men and lost homosapiens.
Jason Donavon reprises his role as Frank N Furter and he engulfs it with such fervor that you wonder if he ever took off the suspenders and corset since he played Frank in the late 1990s. In this production he is magnificent. He commands the space he inhabits on the stage. He never drops for a moment. You might wonder if Donavan really is a transexual alien wearing a Jason suit by day waiting for Rocky Horror milestones to roll around. He is that good.
Janet played by Deirdre Khoo is outstanding. She is like a hot cold goodie from the Far Away Tree by Enid Blyton. Just as you think you can’t take much more of her candy floss sweetness. she turns and becomes perfectly dirty and devilishly divine. And then, when you begin to worry that she has gone too far down Pleasure Lane, her lollypop sweetness returns. Her voice fills the stage and she holds your attention in spite of muscled men galavanting and grinding ghouls and gals.
Stellar Perry and Henry Rollo play Magenta and Riff Raff, a brother and sister duo who are loved by the audience. Perry and Rollo play their roles with such spunk and fun that at the end they flow from harmless lackey’s to murderous villains with bodacious aplomb.
Loredo Malcolm as Rocky has the body of a Greek God and with his perfectly sculpted body covered in glitter he is a dazzling sight. But without a good actor inside that body the role would have fallen flat, gorgeously flat, but flat none the less. Playing a character that is designed to lack depth can be a challenge but Malcolm highlights Rocky’s innocence rather than his potential to be dense.
Ethan Jones as Brad, Darcey Eagle as Columbia and Ellis Dolan as Dr Scott were all superb and each one gave the audience a performance they could connect with.
The set design opens with bubblegum style illustrations. So very stylised and full of colour with an element of perfection. It took me a moment, but only a short one, to be pulled into this world created by Hugh Durrant. The set combined with the lighting design by Nick Richings were supremely extravagant and took the production to a whole new level. The final scene where you watch the whole story take off in an alien spaceship was crafted brilliantly.
Audience participation is a key element of the Rocky Horror Show so well timed one liners from the crowd are always well received. Being able to work with hecklers was another sign of professionalism by the cast.
Myf Warhurst as Narrator is an Aussie gem and she bore the brunt of the crowds heckles with humour and honesty.
The songs are glorious, the costumes, by Sue Blane, were tremendous and the whole show is sumptuous and grandiose. Don your crazy outfits, hoist up your garters and get yourself to the Theatre Royal for Rocky Horror Show.
The Rocky Horror Show Company presents
Rocky Horror Show
by Richard O'Brien
Director Andrew Bevis
Venue: Theatre Royal, Sydney | 108 King St, Sydney NSW
Dates: 18 Feb – 01 April 2023