REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW

The original essence lives on in Richard Obrien’s infectious music and sensationally with Jason Donovan’s Frank N Furter.

By: Apr. 04, 2024
REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.




Existing user? Just click login.

Wednesday 3rd April 7:30pm 2024, Theatre Royal Sydney

The original essence of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW lives on in Richard Obrien’s infectious music and sensationally with Jason Donovan’s Frank N Furter.

If you’re a Rocky Horror virgin, this 1950’s sci-fi/horror tale follows a squeaky-clean couple, Brad (Blake Bowden) and Janet (Deirdre Khoo), when they stumble into a mad scientist’ ( Jason Donovan) castle. This cliché movie storyline has a twist, the mad Dr has a sexy and silicious side. An evil and endearing character that introduces the naive couple to more than just cutting-edge scientific discoveries. This parody of vintage cinema is performed with the rock and roll beats of O’Brien’s score.

The production pumps this musical into a non-stop, jam-packed rollicking ride that is thoroughly entertaining.

REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
  Daniel Erbacher, Deirdre Khoo, Dylan Alcott, Blake Bowden Jason Donovan, Henry Rollo, Darcey Eagle

The original production, directed by Jim Sharman (who was the director and creative contributor to The Rocky Horror Picture Show), had its premiere to an audience of 63 in 1973. This 2023 50th anniversary production enjoys a success that brings it back to The Theatre Royal Sydney in 2024.

In its many incarnations, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW has countless fans and I bet some die-hard loyals to the OG stage and/or movie version. This makes the role of Frank N Furter a hard one to master and to combat the comparisons.

Jason Donovan has done the ultimate stella job. He has made Frank his own.

Keeping the sexy, outrageous cheekiness that is this bent Scientist while adding his own deviousness and audacious charm.  Master of his domain, commanding the stage with a seductive presence and a voice to swoon for.  In line with the parody, his comic timing is impeccable and his asides to the audience are an exquisite highlight. Through all this enticing burlesque lampooning, his rendition of I’m Going Home is wonderfully honest and beautifully engaging.

See this production for Donovan.

REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
  Jason Donovan, Henry Rollo, 

Director Christopher Luscombe brings this enthusiastic cast of superb singers to an electrifying concert performance. This ensemble and the rock and roll band deliver an outstanding rendition of this foot stomping musical.

For the 40th celebarations a revival started in the UK in 2013, it's design and format continues to be the version that tours the world. This version had it's first run in Australia in 2015. That production become well known due to the incident involving Craig Mcloughlan. With a new cast, director Luscombe leads the 50th anniversary staging of this incarnation.

O’Brien’s baby has certainly been on an evolutionary journey. From gritty, grungy, daring and explicit performances in a run down dis-used cinema to the main stage with a glossy, full scale and grand production. Some of the original fans may dislike that the risqué, bohemian feel that you discovered when coming across an indie performance has almost disappeared. But with changing times and points of view the choice to recreate it as a rock and roll musical delivers a highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable night.

REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Darcey Eagle, Stellar Perry, Deirdre Khoo, Blake Bowden , Henry Rollo,

Keeping the original intent of this work and making it current is no mean feat. As stated before the music and Donovan keep this gem alive. Other stand out moments include Blake Bowden’s Brad. He marvelously balances the fine line of parody and being a ground character. When Brad is thrown into the Floor Show you see his genuine shock and simultaneous scintillation in his newfound existence. He shows that loss of innocence which a major ingredient of Rocky Horror.

Another Stand out is Dylan Alcott as the Narrator. The recent productions of Rocky have a trait of choosing a notable performers for this role with mixed results. Alcott reads the narration as himself, the Aussie next door. But his wit, one liners and interactions with the audience brings the biggest laughs of the night. His is a master of many talents and now he is a stage musical star. The other delight with Alcott is that he brings back some of the original Rocky Horror essence with in-your-face and daring comments.

The movie's history created the element of audience participation. I received an email from the Royal asking for theatre decorum and not to disturb the performers. Alcott introduced the night and encouraged the audience to get involved. This resulted in superb hilarity with many hysterical one-liners but also a couple of moments where audience call outs were mixed up and lost when clashing with the characters’ lines.

Over the 50 years, the various versions have been toned down. In the movie we saw nipples, which was the first toned down step from the more revealing 1973 stage shows. In the movie the pool scene was a subtle version of the original orgy simulation that was represented on stage, now that scene is just a slow dance and song number. With these latest productions, the most daring physical elements is characters in full underwear.

See this production to search for the original essence and to see its full scale main stage  transformation but also for Donovan’s sublime Frank and for a rollicking good night with all the beats you love from THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW.

REVIEW: Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW




Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.

Vote Sponsor


Videos