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The Rocky Horror Show


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“It was great when it all began”: in 1973 a rock n roll musical which broke down sexual constraints and celebrated absolute pleasure hit the London stage.

In 1974 it strutted to Australia on the high heels of the glorious Reg Livermore. Two years later the film version, starring the sensuously delightful Tim Curry, turned this show into a worldwide cult hit.

“Let’s do the time warp again”: and now it’s back in Australia following a 12 month run in the UK, celebrating its 40th anniversary, this time starring Craig McLachlan as a camp, over-the-top transvestite Dr Frank-N-Furter. This is McLachlan’s second time around in the role, and he obviously relishes every moment he’s tucked into his bodice and suspenders.

Adelaide audiences have the pleasure of seeing the show’s creator, Richard O’Brien, playing the role of the narrator this time around. At 70 plus years old, O’Brien’s indomitable presence is a bonus in this production, which often lacks the flair of the original Australian production.

“I really love that rock-n-roll”: the songs are superbly played by Dave Skelton’s band and the audience was singing along throughout.

Kristian Lavercombe was a stand out as Riff Raff, Ashlea Pyke in the role of Columbia was a singing and tap dancing dynamo, and Christie Whelan Browne and Tim Maddren were faultless as in their respective roles of Janet and Brad.

It’s titillating, it’s timeless, it’s transsexual, but at times this version felt a parody of a more befitting era, where androgyny and glitter were the flavours of the day, where Frank, the alien transvestite, slotted in beautifully between Bowie and Bolan.

Still, it’s nice to be whisked back there, if only fleetingly.

The Rocky Horror Show is playing at the Adelaide Festival Theatre until April 13.

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