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Rocky Horror Show (Comedy Theatre, Melbourne)

What do the critics think of Rocky Horror Show? We review the reviews.

Show times: Tue-Fri 7.30pm; Sat 1.30pm & 7.30pm; Sun 1.30pm & 5.30pm Book tickets 

The low-down

It’s been 40 years since Rocky first rocked our stages, but it’s been less than five since the last professional production, starring iOTA as Frank n Furter, played Australia. This country has a long association with Rocky Horror; the original production was created by a group of Australians, led by director Jim Sharman, and we got the show, featuring Reg Livermore in blistering form, a year before Broadway. This time, Craig McLachlan returns to a role he first played in 1992. The new Australian production is based on a UK touring production, and also features Tim Maddren, Christie Whelan Browne and Erika Heynatz.

Our verdict

Some shows are definitely worth reviving, and this is one of them. Even if it’s more of a trip down memory lane than an immediate, modern musical, characters like Frank-n-Furter and Brad and Janet  have entered the lexicon of rock’n’roll immortals, and the corny plot, which tries to pretend that love is the best in this best of all possible worlds, especially alien ones, is perfect in its own right. READ OUR REVIEW

What the other critics say

It seems everybody has been dazzled by Craig McLachlan’s Frank once again. The praise for the cast has been uniformly strong, but a few questions have been asked about the production values. The overall feeling is that this is one of the best shows to play Brisbane in a long time. But then again, the current touring production of Grease opened to mostly rapturous reviews in Brisbane, and was then met with far less enthusiasm in Sydney, so things may change as the show tours. Consensus rating: 7/10

“Frank’s appearance took the audience participation, which had begun when narrator Tony Farrell first opened the narrative, to another level, and McLachlan embraced it beautifully. He encouraged the interplay and hushed it when necessary. McLachlan first played the role of Frank in his mid-20s; now in his mid-40s, he suits it better.” Natalie Bochenski, Brisbane Times

“In a performance that was charismatic and outrageously camp, McLachlan brought sizzle to the stage whenever he appeared as the ‘sweet transvestite’ from Transylvania. He pouted, preened, and shamelessly indulged himself to the hilt and the audience loved every minute of it. In fact the more decadent the character was the louder they screamed.” Peter Pinne, StageWhispers

“The cast of only twelve – led brilliantly by Craig McLachlan as Dr Frank-N-Furter – were the saving grace in this production that overall left me a little underwhelmed. Firstly, I question why there were only 12 players depicting this homage to science fiction and B-grade movies of the past. The iconic ‘Time Warp’ scene, although musically strong, felt a little light with only four ‘phantoms’ as guests at Dr Frank-N-Furter’s affair. ” Mark Taylor, ArtsHub

“The 40th anniversary Australian tour of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is the must see show of 2014. Not only does it revitalise a cult classic that will please longtime lovers of the musical and film, but it also opens itself up to welcome a whole new generation of fans that will see it further cement its timelessness within the hearts of musical lovers for generations to come.” Chad St James, SameSame

“With a relatively small cast for a main stage musical, the characters were so vivid and well drawn, that we didn’t need extra bodies with huge dance numbers to entertain us, nor did we need a massive orchestra. The four-piece band under the musical direction of Dave Skelton did not seem lacking, and having them visible on a mezzanine floor was a nice touch.” Bobbi-Lea Dionysius, AussieTheatre


McLachlan’s Frank is the winner in this fine production of a musical we can’t get enough of.


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