Jason Donovan sparkles as Dr Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror

By Gill Canning

<em>The cast performing the time warp, credit: Daniel Boud</em>
The cast performing the time warp, credit: Daniel Boud
Almost 50 years since its Australian debut, 'The Rocky Horror Show' has returned to the stage and welcomed a new generation of fans, with Jason Donovan donning the fishnets and stilettos.

When The Rocky Horror Show opened in Sydney in 1974, it was billed as a “transvestite-science-fiction-rock ‘n’ roll B movie award winning musical”. As a kid, I was so jealous that my teenaged brother got to see the coolest show in town with Reg Livermore playing Dr Frank-N-Furter, a bisexual, transvestite scientist who seduces the naïve newlyweds Brad and Janet, having just created Rocky, his own ‘perfect man’.

Fifty years later, Jason Donovan, who made his name in on TV in the ‘80s and now resides in the UK, is slipping into the fire engine-red corset and high heels to give his own spin to the role. Many of us know him from Neighbours, but he also spent a year playing the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on London’s West End.

Jason Donovan and Henry Rollo in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, credit: Daniel Boud

This slick new production is a delight from beginning to end. The sets, lighting, costumes and most importantly – the acting and singing – are all superb. There is no weakness in the talented cast but Donovan, as the linchpin, is a gorgeous Frank and looks to be having the time of his life: “It’s a really special moment for me. ‘Rocky’ is a celebration of life in all its colours, and all of its adversities, it’s about being true to yourself, it’s about being individual, and I think that it resonates with people in a way that probably not a lot of other shows do.”

The audience I saw it with not only gave a standing ovation, they were on board with the show’s message of sexual empowerment the whole way through, becoming part of the conversations on stage, as ‘Rocky’ audiences are wont to do.

“There’s 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,” says Donovan. “It’s pure escapism, it appeals to people’s darker sides.”
Catch it if you can.

The Rocky Horror Show
Sydney, playing now until 1 April
Adelaide, 13-30 April
Melbourne, 18 May – June 25



Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe.