The Rocky Horror Show Musical | Adelaide Review

Review of Cult Musical The Rocky Horror Show in Adelaide in 2023

by Carla Caruso

Adelaide, it’s your turn to do the Time Warp. So, sharpen those stilettos for the rockiest ride of your life.

If you’re in need of a date night or a mums’ evening out, then we’ve got just the idea for you.

A brand-new Australian production of cult musical The Rocky Horror Show is on at the Festival Theatre, celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Even if you’ve never seen the movie in its entirety before, like I haven’t, you’ll know all the iconic songs and characters. Seeing floor-filler Time Warp performed before your eyes is, indeed, a pinch-yourself moment (and will prompt you to set aside some time that very weekend to watch the film in full!).

Although, side-note: the 1975 movie adaptation actually came out a few years after the original stage show.

But back to the new Aussie production… It stars three-time Olivier Award winner David Bedella (Jerry Springer: The Opera, In The Heights, and & Juliet in the West End) as Frank-N-Furter, and media icon Myf Warhurst as The Narrator. (Though, actor/writer Nicholas Hammond will take on the latter role from 2-13 May when Myf jets off to host Eurovision.)

For three SA shows only, legendary British-New Zealand creator Richard O’Brien, now 81, also takes to the stage as a special guest star (at 1pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday 19 April and 7.30pm on Thursday 20 April).

For the uninitiated, the story follows Brad and his fiancée, Janet – two squeaky-clean college kids – who are stranded on a stormy night when they get a flat tyre. They seek shelter in a nearby castle belonging to Frank-N-Furter, an eccentric transvestite, and have a raft of strange encounters…

It’s amazing to think how ahead of its time the original show was in regard to its themes – and it continues to blaze a trail with the diversity of faces showcased onstage.

Seeing the production for the first time is a bit of a shock to the system as it isn’t your typical theatre experience. It’s kind of like a cross between a singalong movie and a high-energy concert. Audience participation, as I discovered, is a big part of the ride.

Not only do fans dress up in costume – think sequins, fishnets, and feather boas – they also call out lines during the show and joyfully heckle the performers (plus stamp their feet and applaud with gusto throughout).

Once you get accustomed to all this, you can just get swept up in the fun. The energy levels never let up. It’s an assault on the senses with its thumping playlist, bright décor and costuming, and cheeky banter and moves. 

Another standout performer is Stellar Perry, above, who plays the dual roles of usherette and ‘Magenta’. You might recognise her face – and vocal pipes – from reality song contests like The Voice.

The rollicking production lasts two hours, with a 20-minute interval, and is for those aged 12-plus due to its risqué themes. Grab a corset and some pearls, start humming Sweet Transvestite, and get yourself to the theatre!

(Though, don’t make my mistake and expect to see a talking Venus flytrap – that’s from the similar ’80s film and musical, The Little Shop of Horrors!)

Review by Carla Caruso

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For more information and to book tickets please visit the Festival Theatre website.

What:  The Rocky Horror Show – Review

When:  Thursday – Saturday 

Where:  Adelaide Festival Theatre | King William Rd, Adelaide

Who:  Ages 12 and up

All photos care of The Rocky Horror Show Musical.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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