There are few musicals that have stood the test of time as well as The Rocky Horror Show. Created by New Zealand’s Richard O’Brien, the cult musical premiered in Sydney in 1974 with Reg Livermore in the iconic role of Dr. Frank N. Furter.
Since its inception The Rocky Horror Show, a salute to the B-grade horror films of early cinema, has continued to gain popularity with new generations of fans. Now, 40 years on, the stage show has returned to Melbourne with crowd favourite Craig McLachlan strapping on the fishnets once more in the final leg (pardon the pun) of the 40th anniversary tour.
Aussie Theatre’s Heather Bloom attended last week’s media call and spoke with cast members Luigi Lucente and Erika Heynatz.
Luigi is a fast rising star within the musical theatre community, whilst Erika is effortlessly beautiful and multi-talented (Legally Blonde, Australia’s Next Top Model). They both expressed their joy at being a part of the holy grail of musical theatre gigs adding that Melbourne audiences have a lot to look forward to.
“Audiences can expect to hear the music they know and love”, says Heynatz, who considers the role of Mageneta to be her career highlight to date.
Lucente, who was a finalist in the Rob Guest Endowment 2011 and has since performed in Jersey Boys, Wicked, Assassins and Pippin adds:
“It’s a very interactive show. There is a kind of a second script that exists, developed at the big movie houses, and on certain nights people make those call outs which give Frank and the Narrator license to respond and break the fourth wall. … [This] has culminated into some really awesome moments. The massive cult following of the show sees audience members consistently dress up and join in on the performance, in particular the ‘Time Warp.'”
“We want people to dress up, it’s usually the first three rows that dress up and then tell you this is their sixth time to see the show. To have such a captive audience is incredible” he said.
After rave reviews across the country, The Rocky Horror Show is wrapping up its tour in Melbourne and I can only imagine they have been saving the best till last. With tickets for the limited season almost all gone, the Comedy Theatre (where Rocky was last performed 23 years ago) looks set to house the wickedly funny Frank and his rag tag bunch of lackeys and groupies in what is sure to be a sell out season.
When it comes to the construction of the show Lucente sums it up well, “I don’t think Rocky can exist without an audience, so much relies on the attention that creates the comedy of the show.”
However all eyes will be on, and all attention paid to, the incredible Craig McLachlan who, after 20 years, will be returning to the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter with great aplomb. As the media were treated to a performance of ‘Time Warp’ and ‘Sweet Transvestite’, McLachlan proved once again that he is only getting better with age and that he can still rock a pair of stilettos and suspenders.
The Rocky Horror Show remains a favourite with audiences and industry professionals alike. It is an incredibly weird and wonderful journey of manic energy and classic music that is impossible to resist, just like the charms of one Dr. Frank N. Furter.
The Rocky Horror Show is now playing at the Comedy Theatre Melbourne, 240 Exhibition Street.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster