Published on May 25th, 2023 | by Tim Chuma
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW REVIEW (Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne)
Summary: Well worth it if you have never seen it before or have seen it and want to see the new version.
I was looking forward to this as the last show I saw the premiere of was Shrek the Musical in early 2020 which promptly closed the next week when we had the first lockdown. While I must have seen the film at some point I couldn’t remember that I had apart from the big dance numbers and I have never seemed to make it to any of the various revivals over the years.
What it did mean is that I did not go into it with any expectations of what it was going to be. The film is a different version of the story to the stage production and had a different cast. No one would expect everyone to match the original cast or staging especially not Tim Curry.
It was great to have Myf Warhurst in this as the narrator at least for most of the run except for Perth. I thought she did great apart from some really hurtful heckles by people who thought they were being funny. This was meant to be the friends and entertainment industry night, do better people!
Jason Donovan as Frank-n-Furter is the stunt casting and the hook to get people into the show as he is only in the show until 9th of July and only in Melbourne. They are doing a lot of shows so I understand they have to rotate cast members. The person I was with seemed to think it was not him but he was just doing an accent for the part it seems. You could tell he was a bit nervous as he flubbed some of the lines but kept going like a professional.
Ethan Jones as Brad and Deirdre Khoo as Janet seemed to go well and especially Dierdre as Janet as she seemed so sweet and innocent at the start I actually got a shock when they took her dress off. Although they don’t seem like difficult performances they are in most of the scenes so they have to do a lot of lines.
I enjoyed Stellar Perry as the Usherette/Magenta and she reminded me of a burlesque performer I used to go see (now a nail artiste). Burlesque does take a lot of influence from this show over the years so it seemed pretty appropriate.
The rest of the cast seemed to go well especially Loredo Malcolm in the physically demanding role as Rocky who has nowhere to hide as he is in his underwear the entire time with the cast talking about his body. This role has two understudies for a reason. I did notice Myf saying this show was written in the 1970s at one point in particular about Rocky.
I thought the songs were great and that is the real reason you are here. The Time Warp was pretty early into the show, I never remembered it being that early. You do get to hear it more than once and twice for the encore.
The band went well, the person I was with said there were a few bum notes but he goes out to live music even more than I do. For a live show as long as you keep going and don’t admit you made mistakes most people will not notice. We did get to see the band at the end. Not really that much room on the stage to have them as it is pretty small with the set and cast.
The set and staging seemed to go well with no real stuff-ups I could see with the timings and change overs. Being opening night would have had everyone at the top of their game in this regard.
Costumes and hair were all great and managed to establish themselves as unique for this production and match the cast quite well. Frank-n-Furter looked the part which is the main thing.
Not really sure about the audience participation which seemed just limited to people yelling things out. They have banned throwing rice, shooting water pistols and open flames or anything else that people do during the film screenings or previous staging of the production. It might be a bit different if you went for a matinee or with a lot of people who are big fans of the show rather than the usual opening night crowd.
A mark of a great show is that it is over before you know it and this was being about two hours with a 20 minute break in the middle. Got out the same time as Millsy’s show across the road.
I can now say that I have seen a live production of this show and to go to this one if you haven’t actually seen a live production before and just seen the movie. Not sure when it will be back in Melbourne again and I am sure it is selling well with the big names in the cast and the buzz that has generated.
Well worth it if you have never seen it before or have seen it and want to see the new version.
Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne
Until 30 July, 2023
Tickets and information from www.rockyhorror.com.au
The Rocky Horror Show Australia 2023 Gallery
Photos – Daniel Boud
For more information, please visit www.rockyhorror.com.au
Book, Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien
Director: Christopher Luscombe
Jason Donovan – FRANK N FURTER
MELBOURNE (Until 9th July)
David Bedella – FRANK N FURTER
MELBOURNE, PERTH, GOLD COAST, CANBERRA
Myf Warhurst – NARRATOR
Nicholas Hammond – NARRATOR
Ellis Dolan – EDDIE / DR SCOTT
Darcey Eagle – COLUMBIA
Ethan Jones – BRAD
Deirdre Khoo – JANET
Loredo Malcolm – ROCKY
Stellar Perry – MAGENTA / THE USHERETTE
Henry Rollo – RIFF RAFF
Keane Fletcher- SWING
Josh Gates – PHANTOM
Catty Hamilton – PHANTOM
Kristina McNamara – SWING
Jackson Reedman – PHANTOM / DANCE CAPTAIN
Erica Wild – PHANTOM
Musical Director/Keyboard: Jack Earle
Drums: Keiran Rafferty
Bass: Patrick Schmidili
Guitars: Ash Griffin
Saxaphone: Carlo Barbaro
Choreographer: Nathan M. Wright
Set Designer: Hugh Durrant
Costume Designer: Sue Blane
Lighting Designer: Nick Richings
Sound Designer: Gareth Owen
Musical Arrangements: Richard Hartley
Additional Musical Arrangements: Simon Beck
Musical Supervisor (UK): Greg Arrowsmith
Wig Design: Darren Ware
Associate Costume Designer: Christopher Porter
Costume Associate: Penny Simpson
Production Manager: L’Argent Wilson
Production Manager (UK): Matt Jones
Musical Supervisor: Dave Skelton
Musical Director: Jack Earle
Resident Director: Andrew Bevis
Resident Choreographer: Danielle Evrat
Length: 2hrs with 20 min interval
Advisory: Adult themes, strong sex references, written in the 1970s so yeah a bit different