I lived for a while just off King’s Road in Chelsea in the 1970s, and so of course I went to see the original stage production of The Rocky Horror Show which was running in the theatre on the corner. Since then, I have seen the film a couple of times. In those days – before Aids rendered casual sex less fashionable – it was a fabulous show. Silly, of course, but also satisfyingly subversive. But all that stuff is getting on a bit now, and when a friend suggested that I join her to see the latest stage manifestation in Adelaide last night, I was a shade apprehensive.
Frank N Furter was played by Craig McLauglan, who is evidently an excellent actor and a fine singer. Unhappily, he was also appallingly unsuitable for the role. 48 years old and built like a rugby player, he came across as Pauline Hanson doing the Christmas panto. The overall spectacle was about as subversive as a commercial TV quiz show. It was not helped by the ladies in front of us in the stalls, who turned up for the evening wearing matching red plastic bowler hats, and who leapt (well, rose) to their feet and wiggled their ample frames about when it came to the Time Warp bit, trying to follow the moves. The stage set looked like something from The Wiggles. In fact, there was far too much of The Wiggles about the whole thing.
It was not all bad, by any means. The band did a great job with the music. And Richard O’Brien, who wrote the show and played Riff Raff in the original production, appeared as the narrator, and was brilliant – more compelling than anyone else on stage by a country mile. Which was weird, because he is getting on a bit now.