A cult classic. Unique in the fact that it has endured time and format and has still held its plethora of adoring, nay, obsessive fans, The Rocky Horror Show was never going to be defined by one single actor. In fact, we could muse that recent celebrity developments in a way loosely mimic the story-line of the fabulously camp, B-grade caper; The protagonist, perhaps corrupt with his own delusions of grandeur is forcibly ‘retired’ from his inter-galactic position and is punished for his alleged behaviour. I’ll leave that for those in-the-know to sort out.

Rocky Horror Show. Photo by Brian Geach
Rocky Horror Show. Photo by Brian Geach

In what can only be described as an electric opening night for the Brisbane season of the Rocky Horror Show, Adam Rennie became the next generation of performers to pump life into the wicked and wild Dr Frank-N-Furter and it’s an understatement to say that he owned it from the outset with his natural flair and confident stage presence. Not surprisingly, the audience was on edge with antici…..pation as the opening act revealed our precious lovers Brad (Rob Mallett) and “Dammit!” Janet (Michelle Smitheram) with their broken-down kombi van outside a dark and doomy castle. Narrator Cameron Daddo appears to set the scene. Tensions were wound up tightly until the ‘Frank’ reveal, when Rennie was unveiled on stage in all his lascivious glory and there was no turning back. The audience was immediately enraptured and acutely reminded that this show was actually about us all (the audience is part of the play as well).

Erika Heynatz, Tim Maddren, Kristian Lavercombe, Christie Whelan Browne and Ashlea Pyke in the Rocky Horror Show. Image by Jeff Busby
Erika Heynatz, Tim Maddren, Kristian Lavercombe, Christie Whelan Browne and Ashlea Pyke in the Rocky Horror Show. Image by Jeff Busby

Frank-N-Furter himself, although delightful, would be a drag without his cast of queerdos behind him and Amanda Harrison (Magenta), Kristian Lavercombe (Riff Raff) and Nadia Komazec (Columbia) were perfect in these vital roles. Special mention must be made of James Bryers in the role of Eddie, made famous by Meatloaf in the movie. Bryers’ is more James Dean than stocky rock musician. And it would be neglectful not to mention the outrageously buff Brendan Irving who hams it up as the man-made hunk of spunk, Rocky – the object of all their desires.

The show is everything you’d expect from Rocky Horror – a fast paced trip that winds up with you doing the time-warp whether you meant to or not. It’s astounding.

The Rocky Horror Show started on stage in 1973 before becoming a (more enduringly famous) movie in 1975. Although originally panned, it gained cult status as a midnight movie becoming known for its immersive experience which starts right from when you enter the building. Collecting tickets means you need to wade through the fans who’ve come in costume. These are the fans that add the fourth dimension to your show. They know the heckling script to call out during the acts and the cast must by tradition respond.

Rocky Horror Show is now playing at the Concert Hall in Brisbane’s QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) and closes on February 11. Tickets can be purchased online via QTIX and don’t forget your fishnets for this frivolous frolic.

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