Review: Rocky Horror Show

Atheneaum Theatre
18 May to 30 July

Since its debut in 1973, Rocky Horror Show has become a cult classic and an iconic symbol of rebellion and self-expression. The show follows two young lovers, Brad (Ethan Jones) and Janet (Deirdre Khoo), as they stumble upon a strange castle inhabited by outlandish characters from another dimension.

Photographer: Daniel Boud

A mash-up of science fiction, burlesque, horror movie and rock concert, Brad and Janet find themselves stranded on stormy night at the home of Dr Frank N Furter (Jason Donovan).

The Narrator (Myf Warhurst) helps us navigate the story, hamming it up for the crowd and often pausing to invite heckles, for which there was always at least one audience member willing to oblige. Myf displayed mastery in quick-fire comebacks and almost always managed to stay composed in the process.

Hugh Durrant’s set design and Nick Richings lighting are effective in drawing us in to Frank N Ferter’s world of fantasy.

Crowd favourite “Time Warp” was an absolute highlight of the show. A staple song at 21st birthday parties and karaoke bars, it’s little wonder that the audience were belting along and dancing in the seats. Magenta (Stellar Perry),  Riff Raff (Henry Rollo) and Columbia (Darcy Eagle) made the most of the opportunity to showcase their vocal talent and stage presence.

When it comes to revamping an iconic show, there’s always the risk of disappointing fans. However, Christopher Luscombe (Director), Jack Earle (Musical Director) and Nathan M. Wright (Choreographer) managed to strike the right balance between keeping the essence of the show alive while still adding their own flair, to create a fun, chaotic experience.

50 years on, Rocky Horror Show may be a lot less shocking to a contemporary audience but the messages of self-acceptance and challenging one’s perspective of their surroundings are as relevant as ever.

A high energy show from beginning to end, Rocky Horror Show is playing at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre until 30 July before touring Perth and Canberra.

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Andrew G is a theatre promoter (@andrewgshowtime), a theatre producer (Green Day's American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz, Dogfight) and Editor of (formerly Melbourne Theatre Info).
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