It’s just a jump to the left… and you know the rest. The Rocky Horror Show has captured the hearts, minds… and bodies of billions of people around the world for over 40 years. With its loud and proud encouragement of the exploration of sexuality – free of judgment – the show speaks to an audience who want the Nanny State out of their bedroom.
Rocky also speaks to an audience who just want to kick off their heels and have a good time. And Rocky at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre delivers on that note.
I’ve never seen an audience enjoy themselves so much at a musical; it feels more like a rock concert with overly-enthusiastic fans crying out song lyrics and heckling. Cult status breeds a strong fan base, and the audience’s energy is infectious. You cannot help but have a rollicking good time.
As a re-incarnation of the cult classic, though, this 40th Anniversary Rocky has lost its rough edges and danger. There’s nothing scandalous or unnerving – the set is cardboard cutouts and costumes are tame (good but tame). Craig McLachlan’s Frank N Furter plays and plays but we’re not in the least frightened by what he’s capable of.
If anything, McLachlan’s improvisations frequently remove the audience from the story and leave some scenes directionless. We’re dealing with one of the most camp musicals in the history of musicals, but at Rocky’s heart was always something ground-breaking, fearless and eerily creepy. We see peaches and cream and sugar puffs.
None of this detracts from the enjoyment factor of the show. By curtain call the entire auditorium are on their feet doing the time warp again and again because it was an absolute cracker barrel of fun.
The strong cast skillfully match the enthusiasm of the audience with buckets of energy and thrilling performances. Rocky is an ensemble effort and all deliciously entice – even Bert Newton is impossibly endearing as the Narrator. Jade Westaby’s Magenta and Angelique Cassimatis’ Columbia are stand outs. Cassimatis is a stellar Columbia with oodles of energy, impeccable dancing and killer vocals. Westaby brings gravitas and grace to Magenta. The vocal chops of Kristian Lavercombe’s Riff Raff also impress.
The Rocky Horror Show is a fabulously bizarre musical that will undoubtedly capture the hearts, minds… and bodies of its Sydney audience. Viva la Science Fiction/Double Feature!
The Rocky Horror Show Sydney Lyric Theatre, Pirrama Road, Sydney Performance: Friday 17 April 2015 – 8.00pm Season continues to 7 June 2015 Bookings: 1300 795 267 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne Season from 12 June 2015 Bookings: 1300 111 011 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
For more information, visit: www.rockyhorror.com.au for details.
Image: Amy Lehpamer as Janet, Stephen Mahy as Brad and Craig McLachlan as Dr Frank N Furter – photo by Brian Geach
Review: Maryann Wright
Maryann Wright is a performer and writer. She has a Diploma of Musical Theatre from Brent Street and a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from The University of Sydney. Recent performance credits include Subject To Change, Heart of a Dog (Australian premiere), Carrie (Squabbalogic) and Urinetown (Brent Street). Journalism credits include The Guardian, news.com.au and Girlfriend Magazine. www.maryannwright.com.au