Australian Dance Reviews

‘The Rocky Horror Show’: Shiver with antici…pation!

The 2024 Australian cast of 'The Rocky Horror Show'. Photo by Daniel Boud.
The 2024 Australian cast of 'The Rocky Horror Show'. Photo by Daniel Boud.

Theatre Royal, Sydney.
3 April 2024.

In a dazzling spectacle that ignites the stage of the Theatre Royal Sydney, The Rocky Horror Show commemorates its 50th anniversary with an electrifying performance that captivates and enthrals. Directed by the visionary Richard O’Brien, this production stars the sensational Jason Donovan as the flamboyant Frank N Furter and features an ensemble cast of extraordinary talent, including the magnetic Dylan Alcott as the Narrator, Blake Bowden and Deirdre Khoo as the naive couple Brad and Janet, and a host of other captivating performers who bring this cult classic to life in all its glory.

The musical – like the film – satirizes the sci-fi and horror genres, with particular allusions to Frankenstein and Dracula – a parody and tribute to many of the science fiction and horror movies from the 1930s up to the 1970s. Set amidst the eerie confines of a Transylvanian castle, the story follows the naïeve Brad and Janet as they stumble into the clutches of the enigmatic Dr. Frank-N-Furter, portrayed with wicked charm by Jason Donovan. Donovan’s performance is a tour de force, blending flamboyance with sinister allure as he commands the stage with unparalleled charisma. His interactions with the rest of the cast, particularly his seductive chemistry with Deirdre Khoo’s Janet, and on this occasion with Brad (Blake Bowden) – where he genuinely had a laughing fit – proved he was having the time of his life – his dramatic timing was perfect.

Supporting Donovan are a host of equally talented performers who shine in their respective roles. Henry Rollo’s portrayal of Riff Raff is hauntingly captivating, while Daniel Erbacher brings athleticism and charm to the role of Rocky. Darcy Eagle delights as the vivacious Columbia, and Ellis Dolan and Stellar Perry round out the cast with their memorable performances as Eddie, Dr. Scott, and Usherette played by Stellar Perry.

The production design, masterfully crafted by Hugh Durrant, seamlessly transports audiences from the driving scene in the rain outside to the decadent interiors of the castle. Nathan M. Wright’s choreography injects energy and vitality into the show, with the iconic “Time Warp” dance number serving as a highlight of the evening. Nick Richings’ lighting design and Sue Blane’s fresh and detailed costume designs add to the visual spectacle, creating a feast for the senses that enhances the theatrical experience.

But what truly sets The Rocky Horror Show apart is its unique tradition of audience participation. From shouting back lines to dressing up in elaborate costumes, the audience becomes an integral part of the performance, adding an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability to each show. Former Australian of the year and Paralympian Dylan Alcott featured as the Narrator, and kept the audience engaged with bouts of lines and laughter. 

As the streamers fell on another unforgettable performance, The Rocky Horror Show stands as a testament to the enduring power of musical theatre and the boundless creativity of its fans. With its timeless classics and bold exploration of gender and sexuality, this production continues to captivate audiences worldwide, reminding us all to embrace our individuality and celebrate our differences.

Prepare to be thrilled, delighted and thoroughly entertained as you embark on the boldest bash of them all. The Rocky Horror Show guarantees a party like no other, so sharpen those stilettos, don your costumes, and get ready to do the Time Warp again!

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.

To Top