Review by Cynthia Ning
The Rocky Horror Show struts into the Theatre Royal Sydney celebrating its 50th-anniversary production on stage since its conception in 1973, firmly placing itself as one of the great musical theatre staples still immensely popular today. The cast featured new and familiar faces taking on these flamboyant characters by the garter belt.
An excited usherette (Stellar Perry) prepares the audience for the double feature special and we were drawn into another world with The Narrator (Myf Warhurst) warmly beginning the tale. The set design is highly comical in appearance but doesn’t overshadow the performers. Brad (Ethan Jones) and Janet (Deirdre Khoo) portrayed the picture-perfect American couple destined to be married with a picket white fence like their newly wedded friends playing off each other’s adoration for one another wonderfully and were well matched vocally.
The ghouls entered with great zest, using animated facial expressions to highlight curiosity and desire for the newcomers as Riff Raff (Henry Rollo) sings upon the moon to his adoring fans. Upon entering the mysterious manor, we see opulence with the signature red backdrop and taxidermy animal heads. Minimal props and costume changes were needed as the dance numbers kept a relatively fast pace; snappy dialogue and smooth transitions maintained our attention in its duration without a dull moment.
Frank N Furter (Jason Donovan) made his long-awaited appearance in his signature alluring attire and relished every bit of laughter and applause. He was having just as much fun as the audience, if not more, through his distinctly wicked laugh and characteristic flourishes that had everyone lapping up every bit wanting more. Eddie (Ellis Dolan) brought Rock N Roll to the stage with his powerful vocals and zombie dance movies before being chased off with a chainsaw. Rocky (Loredo Malcolm) equally stunned us with his chiselled physique, athleticism, and bold gold look. He wins the hearts of his creator and brings a sweetness and naïveté to the newness of his life and sexual desires, much like Brad and Janet yet to taste the forbidden fruit.
The prop bed garnered the greatest number of giggles and was surprisingly roomy catering up to 3 people at a time. Frank N Future proved to be a true master at the art of seduction and opens the hearts of Janet and Brad to give in to their deep longing for the touch of the flesh. It was impressive to see the cast lean into bantering with the rowdy commentary from the crowd doing some ad-lib and on-the-spot improvisation without being shaken. This showed true professionalism and skill as an actor on stage.
Flirtatious Magenta (Stellar Perry) gave us her untamed wild side before switching to her true nature as the commanding leader and antagonist together with her brother Riff Raff coldly destroying the home that Frank N Furter built on Earth. You could audibly hear the audience's hearts break for Columbia (Darcey Eagle) the tap-dancing darling, who showed her love and devotion to Frank N Furter to the very end. The tragic finale rekindled the spark and reinforced a stronger connection between the two lovers, coming out to the end knowing that they will be okay.
Aside from the phenomenal vocals, the band is cleverly hidden from view on top of the theatre and together with the lighting technicians did a tremendous job in performing the songs on cue with the actors.
And yes, everyone gets to dance and sing along with the cast to the Time Warp (Again). This cult-classic musical theatre production is bizarre, over the top and devilishly delicious. A night filled with naughty fun that promises to fulfil the fantasies of new and old fans alike.
So, what are you waiting for? Dust off your Halloween costumes, grab your fishnet stockings and give yourself into pleasure.
Image Credit: Daniel Boud