Published on May 25th, 2023 | by Tim Chuma

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW REVIEW (Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne)

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW REVIEW (Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne) Tim Chuma

Summary: Well worth it if you have never seen it before or have seen it and want to see the new version.


Rocky's back!

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.

Final Thoughts?

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.

Season Details:

Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne
Until 30 July, 2023
Tickets and information from

The Rocky Horror Show Australia 2023 Gallery
Photos – Daniel Boud

For more information, please visit

Show details:

Book, Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien

Director: Christopher Luscombe



Jason Donovan – FRANK N FURTER

MELBOURNE (Until 9th July)


David Bedella – FRANK N FURTER



Myf Warhurst – NARRATOR



Nicholas Hammond – NARRATOR



Ellis Dolan – EDDIE / DR SCOTT

Darcey Eagle – COLUMBIA

Ethan Jones – BRAD

Deirdre Khoo – JANET

Loredo Malcolm – ROCKY


Henry Rollo – RIFF RAFF

Keane Fletcher- SWING

Josh Gates – PHANTOM

Catty Hamilton – PHANTOM

Kristina McNamara – SWING


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

About the Author

Writer, photographer, artist and music fan from Melbourne, Australia.

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