The chilly weather is not the only thing making Melbournians shiver this winter – one of the most beloved stage shows of all time is set to return to the city with much antici… pation.
With sell-out performances at Sydney’s Theatre Royal and Adelaide’s Festival Theatre, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is ready to “time warp” its way to Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre for its 50th Anniversary Production.
Debuting on 19 June 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre on London’s West End, the show would go on to become a beloved cult classic of both stage and screen audiences.
‘Rocky Horror’ proved to be a long-lasting success, with at least one production being performed on stage at any given time around the world for the past 50 years (covid withstanding).
The musical would go on to experience similar success with its film adaptation ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ two years later.
Due to its continuous screenings and productions around the world, ‘Rocky Horror’ has the distinguished honour of having the longest running theatrical release in cinema history, as well as being the only modern rock musical to reach its golden anniversary.
The show tells the story of the newly engaged Brad and Janet, who on their way to visit their old Science teacher, accidently find themselves within the castle confines of one Dr Frank-N-Furter and his collection of animated minions.
With ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ set to celebrate its 50th birthday during its Melbourne season, it is no surprise that the production is set to hold no punches.
Headlined by the eminent Jason Donovan as the ‘sweet transvestite’ himself (with the Olivier Award winning David Bedella set to don the fishnet tights for its final three weeks), ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is set to deliver a fitting tribute to the iconic show.
Joining the celebratory fun with Donovan and Bedella is the likes of Ethan Jones as Brad; Deidre Khoo as Janet; Henry Rollo as Riff Raff; Stellar Perry as Magenta; Ellis Dolan as Eddie; Darcey Eagle as Columbia; Loredo Malcolm as Rocky; Josh Gates, Catty Hamilton, Jackson Reedman, and Erica Wild as Phantoms; Keane Fletcher and Kristina McNamara as Swings; and, fresh from Eurovision in Liverpool, Myf Warhurst as the Narrator.
Before ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ jumps (to the left) into its season at the Athenaeum Theatre, Theatre Haus were able get a sneak peek at the production and chat to some of the cast.
For Darcey Eagle, this celebratory production of is one which is likely to get both new and old fans alike up and dancing.
“We let the show speak for itself,” Eagle says. “It is a massive celebratory event for the 50th anniversary.”
Stellar Perry agrees, explaining that she is still taking in the fact that is a part of the ‘Rocky Horror’ phenomenon.
“’The Rocky Horror Show’ has pushed itself into the mainstream in that it is a cult classic,” Perry says. “People absolutely love it and love to revisit it again and again.”
While Eagle and Perry admit they have not seen the stage version before performing in it, they are both long-time fans of the musical thanks to the 1975 film.
“I figured out I was attracted to boys and girls watching the movie,” Perry laughs. “I remember when I saw it when I was 11 or 12, I loved Frank and I thought Susan Sarandon as Janet was the hottest thing in the world.”
“This show, and the movie, is for so many people their queer awakening,” Eagle says. “It has aided queer representation in the sense that you can come and see yourself on stage.”
Eagle reflects that although the show was somewhat controversial in its queer representation when it premiered fifty years ago, such boundaries have acted as an education system of sorts for modern society.
“There is something incredibly fluid about all the characters that has never really been pinned down, which I think resonates with audiences really well,” Eagle says.
“Now it is something that is more celebrated.”
Perry continues, arguing that the longevity of ‘Rocky Horror’ is thanks in large part to its desire to bring something different to the entertainment table.
“What’s represented in mainstream media is the social norm of ‘boy meets girl’ and ‘boy falls in love with girl’,” Perry explains. “But I don’t think there are that many stories of queer relationships.”
“People still resonate with this because it is different, and it is still very much relevant.”
Regardless of whether you have been a fan since the first ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’ or are a ‘virgin’ to the show, the 50th anniversary production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is sure to bring audiences “up to the lab” again and again.
Get ready to have your world rose tinted, Melbourne. Frank, Rocky, and friends are going home.
‘The Rocky Horror Show – 50th Anniversary Production’ will perform at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre until Sunday, 23 July. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website.