THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW @ THEATRE ROYAL SYDNEY

The opening performance of Richard O’Brien’s ROCKY HORROR SHOW demonstrated with clear abundance that Sydneysiders have maintained their affection for this raunchy musical. The
revival, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, is directed by Christopher Luscombe and has
returned to The Theatre Royal for another round of fun and frivolity. Known as much for its
audience participation as it is for its iconic music, the audience played its part generously
with jovial heckles and rousing applause for a cast who ensured a delightful evening of
escapism, reinforcing the love this show continues to generate.

Nostalgic notes resonated from the outset as Stellar Perry, playing the Usherette, peeled
back the curtain; her powerful voice drawing the audience into a world that playfully
parodies the B-grade science fiction films of yesteryear.

The role of Narrator has been passed to former Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott AO, who
has added yet another string to his bow. His affable nature introduced a touch of larrikinism
to the role. Alcott’s self-deprecating humour and heckle rebuttals were warmly received by
the audience, demonstrating support of the inclusive representation of people with
disabilities on the stage. Watching an Australian legend clearly enjoying every moment on
stage added to the conviviality of the evening. From April 18, the baton will be passed to
comedian Pete Helliar, who will no doubt put his own spin on the coveted role.

Blake Bowden and Deirdre Khoo worked well together to capture the cheerful naivety of the
newly engaged couple Brad and Janet, who seek refuge in a mysterious castle after being
caught in a storm. Bowden’s performance was dynamic and Khoo demonstrated her range
as a performer, transforming from sweet ingenue to sultry seductress. The 50’s style
costuming and cartoonish stage design contrasted with the more ominous staging of Dr
Frank N Furter’s castle, where madness and debauchery ensue.

Reprising the role of Frank N Furter, Jason Donovan greeted the audience with the warmth
of an old friend. Donovan commanded attention as he strutted the stage in signature corset,
fishnets, and heels. The iconic outfit was completed with a set of white pearls that
conservative members of the audience may have been tempted to clutch as he moved
across the stage with suggestive vulgarity. Donovan seduced the audience with a tantalising
performance, breaking the fourth wall with flirtatious innuendo. At one point, Donovan
broke character by corpsing, to the rapture of the audience who relished every mischievous
moment. The performance only reaffirmed the depth of fondness directed towards this
classical musical by its cult of followers who choose to be a part of the joke and not take
things too seriously.

Henry Rollo’s performance as the maniacal Riff Raff was particularly charismatic. His
expressive delivery and strong vocals were a highlight. Also noteworthy was the impossibly
sculptured, bleach-blonde Rocky, performed by Daniel Erbacher who channelled Barbie’s
Ken in his leopard print briefs that added a touch of innocence and vitality to the role.

The ensemble cast excelled in delivering a tight, well-choreographed performance which
was particularly fast paced in the first act. In the second act, the talent of lighting director
Nick Riching was on full display to introduce spectacular effects as the galactic return to
Transylvania loomed.

In all, while Rocky Horror Show may be over 50 years old, this performance still packed a
punch. Beyond appealing to hard-core fans who love everything that the show offers,
Luscombe added a freshness that kept audiences wanting to do the time warp all over again.

Richard O’Brien’s ROCKY HORROR SHOW is playing at the Theatre Royal Sydney, until 5th May 2024.

Featured photo – Dylan Alcott is playing the Narrator until the 17th April 2024 and then Pete Helliar will play the Narrator until the show closes on the 5th May 2024. Production photography by Wendell Teodoro