|Henry Rollo (Riff Raff) - Stellar Perry (Magenta) leading the cast in "The Rocky Horror Show"
Christopher Luscombe – Choreographed by Nathan Wright
Direction by Jack Earle – Set Design by Hugh Durrant
Design by Sue Blane – Lighting Design by Nick Richings
Royal, Sydney 18th February – 2nd April 2023.
Night performance on 18th February reviewed by Bill Stephens
Is it really
50 years since Reg Livermore scandalised and delighted Sydney with his joyously
outrageous cavorting as Frank N Furter in Harry M. Miller’s production of The
Rocky Horror Show in the less-than-salubrious New Arts Theatre in Glebe?
Well a lot
has happened in that 50 years and what was then subversive and shocking when we
first met Frank N Furter is now mainstream. The show is much prettier than it
was in the days of the New Arts Theatre, and Rocky is no longer the
artificially made, fully grown, physically perfect muscle man complete with
blonde hair and a tan that Frank N Furter originally created for his own
pleasure. In this production he’s an artificially made, fully grown, physically
perfect, black muscle man with black hair and indeterminate sun tan, charmingly
and exuberantly performed by Loredo Malcolm.
|Jason Donovan as Frank N Furter in the 50th Anniversary Production of
"The Rocky Horror Show"
favourite boy-next-door, Jason Donovan, now a little less boyish, but a West End
veteran who played Frank N Furter in the 25th Anniversary production
of “The Rocky Horror Show” still brings a shapely pair of legs, a fine singing
voice and a knowing louche charm to his interpretation of the iconic role. His domain
has been given a spruce-up with a fresh new setting by Hugh Durrant, colourful
costumes by Sue Blane and state-of-the-art lighting design by Nick Richings
replacing the beguiling tackiness of the original production.
The talented cast includes Ethan Jones and Deirdre Khoo as the previously wholesome and naïve Brad and Janet. Henry Rollo (Riff Raff), Stellar Perry (Magenta) and Darcey Eagle (Columbia) portray Frank N Furter’s associates, with Ellis Dolan in the dual roles of Eddie/ Dr Scott. All perform their roles with energy and commitment supported by four hard-working dancers, Josh Gates, Catty Hamilton, Jackson Reedman and Erica Wild who stylishly execute Nathan Wright’s natty choreography.
narrator, Myf Warhurst, of “Spicks and Specks” fame, read her script
efficiently but looked uncomfortable, substituting an engaging smile and a “what-am-I-doing
here” attitude for any perceivable hint of stagecraft.
All the favourite
Rocky Horror songs are included; “The Time Warp”, “Sweet Transvestite”, “I can
Make You a Man”, “Touch-a-Touch-a-Touch Me”, all performed with gusto by the talented
cast and Jack Earle’s tight quintet.
|Loredo Malcolm as Rocky in "The Rocky Horror Show"
the enthusiastic attempts of the ‘influencers’ noisily demonstrating how much
they were enjoying the show, the response by most of the first-night audience,
perhaps a generation or two older than the target audience, was surprisingly
So much so
that it was hard to escape the impression that given how much attitudes have
changed over the last 50 years, many in the audience were finding much of the
on-stage sexual horse-play more worrying than entertaining; therefore raising
the question that, at 50, has the once-subversive “Rocky Horror Show” lost its relevance?