Saturday, July 21, 2018

Day 29: Theatre Review: The Rocky Horror Show

Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne until 26 August.

It's interesting to revisit a show which you love. You're either going to love it or hate it.

This is the fourth time I've seen this production of Rocky Horror. The first three times were at the Comedy Theatre with Craig McLachlan playing Frank. When I purchased this ticket, the beleagued McLachlan was still supposed to be playing Frank.

Move forward six months and the #metoo movement came about and McLachlan has been disgraced in the media and we have a new location - down the road at the swankier Her Majesty's Theatre and there's a new Frank, in the form of Todd McKenney - I went into this production with the bar set fairly low. Knowing that the production has been dragged through the media for the the better part of the of a year for all the wrong reasons being the main reason for this.

Also, I've never been a fan of Todd McKenney. One episode of Dancing with the Stars was enough to put me off him - and the show for good.

For the most part, I was rather impressed with this new iteration of the cult classic. They've taken the set and the production values and moved them down the road to a very schmick production of this cult classic. The set is exactly the same as it was down the road. Some of the original cast remain as well.

But this is a very different production. From the McLachlan Frankenfurter to the cast dynamics to the pace of the production. It's the same, but it's different.

On the plus side, Todd McKenney is an excellent Frank. Not only is his singing and dancing superlative but he gives Frank a very likable charm. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Reprising his role if Riff Raff is Kristian Lavercombe, who is easily up there with Richard O'Brien in this telling role.

Shane Jacobson, with his foot in a boot, was great as the Narrator. One of the best shout outs came at his expense in the middle of the show, which had the audience, and Jacobson, in hysterics.

The music, dancing and the band were both on point - excellent even.

So, you can't hear my enthusiasm for this iteration of this long running production. Too right.

There were two things that let this production down. The first is timing. It was far, far, far too fast paced. This is a fast paced show anyway, but everything felt very rushed. For a 7.30 start, we were out, after two curtain calls at 9.30 pm - with a 20 minute interval. Everything felt far too hurried - almost like the cast were going through the motions to get out to catch a train.

The other thing that really stood out here, comparing it to the last iteration of the production - it has been cleaned up. I'm the first to admit that Craig McLachlan skirted the boundaries of taste (and H.R. protocols) much of the time while on stage. He was filthy - and very, very funny. This production has cut right back on anything superfluous - to it's detriment. It feels like it's lost a bit of it's character and soul.

As my friend Alice and I walked out after the obligatory two curtain calls, we were of similar opinion. We were in agreement that the wonderful, yet run down Comedy Theatre was a better fit for the production. The theatre felt like its natural home. We were also a bit disappointed that the P.C. police have reined in the production entirely. Yes we can understand that after the problems the production had at the end of last year that this would be the case - but it's taken some of the fun out of what really is a great production of this cult classic.

It is definitely worth a look.

It's just a pity that the Craig McLachlan debacle has left the company wanting.

Today's Song:

No comments: