After 50 years, Rocky Horror still doing the Time Warp

Not even the Time Warp can stop 50 years going by for a mad transvestite scientist from the galaxy of Transylvania.

Not to mention poor old Brad and Janet. It’s enough to put a ladder in your fishnets.

The Rocky Horror Show is marking its fiftieth anniversary with the premiere of a new production in Sydney on Tuesday, starring Jason Donovan as Dr Frank N Furter, and Myf Warhurst as The Narrator.

The show originally premiered in June 1973 in the UK at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, directed by Australian Jim Sharman, and written by Richard O’Brien.

It’s been playing continuously somewhere in the world ever since, the only contemporary rock musical to last 50 years.

The anniversary comes as actor Christie Whelan Browne lodges a complaint about the show’s 2014 production with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

In 2020, actor Craig McLachlan was found not guilty of allegations he indecently assaulted four women during the Melbourne stage production.

Whelan Browne said in a statement posted online Friday that she had lodged a complaint regarding the 2014 show, produced by what was then the Gordon Frost Organisation, accusing it of several breaches of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Rocky Horror was adapted into a film in 1975, and recent tours have brought the Time Warp to Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Argentina, Romania, Slovenia, Belgium, Tokyo, Korea, Brazil, Canada and Iceland.

Donovan believes Rocky Horror has stood the test of time because it’s pure escapism, a show that particularly appeals to Australian humour.

“There is something uniquely special about this show in Australia, maybe it’s to do with our culture, maybe it’s to do with our quirky sense of humour, it’s a really special moment for me,” he said.

The musical tells the story of innocent newlyweds Brad and Janet, who get caught in a storm and end up at the home of Dr Frank-N-Furter, who unveils his Frankenstein-style creation Rocky, a physically perfect man.

Over the years the stage production has starred Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Meat Loaf, Jerry Springer, Adam Lambert, Emma Bunton, Stephen Fry, Reg Livermore, Bert Newton, Gretel Killeen, Derryn Hinch, and Shane Jacobsen.

Rocky Horror is on in Sydney at the Theatre Royal February 14 till April 1, at the Adelaide Festival Theatre from April 13, and the Atheneum in Melbourne from May 18.


Liz Hobday
(Australian Associated Press)


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