Craig McLachlan and Brendan Irving ham it up in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which returns to QPAC this month.
Craig McLachlan and Brendan Irving ham it up in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which returns to QPAC this month.

Get ready to do the Time Warp again

GET ready for some more naughtiness when The Rocky Horror Show returns to Queensland in the new year.

Richard O'Brien's hit musical returns to QPAC's Concert Hall this month with Craig McLachlan reprising his Helpmann Award-winning role as Frank N Furter.

"It's the most fun you can have in public without getting arrested," McLachlan says. "It's the one night out when you can let it all hang out and have a fabulous, naughty night of rock 'n' roll."

The 40th anniversary production starring McLachlan took the country by storm nearly four years ago and is finally coming back to the stage by popular demand.

Craig McLachlan, centre, as Frank N Furter in the musical Rocky Horror Show. Supplied by official media website. Please credit photo to Jeff Busby.
Craig McLachlan, centre, as Frank N Furter in the musical Rocky Horror Show. Supplied by official media website. Please credit photo to Jeff Busby. Jeff Busby

"Theatre owners were calling us within six months of finishing up and saying 'Hey I know you were just here six months ago but we've got a window of opportunity, do you want to come back?'," he says.

"Fans of the show just bombarded the theatres. I was the fly in the ointment. I just wasn't available, but between Richard O'Brien, (producers) Howard Panter and John Frost and myself we were just plotting and scheming - when can we do an encore lap in lippy?

"It was just looking impossible... then suddenly there were a few weeks available in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth so at least a mini encore tour was possible. I said 'Lock them in. Let's get up to Brisbane and be as naughty as we can be'."

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of a newly engaged couple who get caught in a storm and become stranded in the home of a mad transvestite scientist, Dr Frank N Furter.

O'Brien, who has been involved with dozens of productions of his cult hit musical, has praised McLachlan's take on Frank N Furter but also admits he has to be reined in from time to time.

"It's all the audience's fault," McLachlan laughs. "Richard and I have joked about it a lot over the past few years.

"I don't know what it is about Queensland audiences and Rocky Horror, but on a Friday or Saturday night at QPAC it was as much of a show for us on stage watching the audience as it was for the audience watching us. It was always curious me trying to get out of the theatre at the end of the night."

From left, Christie Whelan Browne, Tim Maddren and Craig McLachlan in a scene from the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show.
From left, Christie Whelan Browne, Tim Maddren and Craig McLachlan in a scene from the 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show. Jeff Busby

McLachlan recalls how the members of a hens' party tried to kidnap him after one show. It's all part and parcel of the role, which couldn't be further from his Logie-nominated turn as Dr Lucien Blake in The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

"A really great part of the process is I get in a couple of hours early to start on Frank's make-up," he says.

"You lose yourself in that transformation with each stroke of the eye shadow brush. As I'm putting the lip seal coat on my lips, suddenly I'm looking at this creature. I know I'm under there somewhere.

"Then from the moment the band kicks in with the little overture and you hear the audience, I don't care if you've got the most under-active thyroid in the world you will be pumped and ready to rock."

McLachlan looks forward to inducting a new supporting cast into the Rocky Horror family. Amanda Harrison will play Magenta, Nadia Komazec will play Columbia, Brendan Irving plays Rocky and Rob Mallett and Michelle Smitheram will play Brad and Janet.

Kristian Lavercombe reprises his role as Riff Raff and Cameron Daddo joins the cast as the narrator.

"Cam and I have known each other since we were kids when we started together at Channel 10," McLachlan says.

"Rocky ain't no Sound of Music. He's in for a wild ride I tell you."

The Rocky Horror Show plays QPAC's Concert Hall from January 17 to February 11.


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