The cast of the Rocky Horror Show have broken their silence since the star of the show, Craig McLachlan dramatically departed on Monday, expressing joy and relief at the positive audience response to new leading man, Adam Rennie. “We were all on edge on Tuesday night before that first performance, but right from the beginning the crowd were so on side,” the 31-year-old exclusively told the The Advertiser.
“It ended up being a very moving, positive experience for me and I think for all of us.”
Rennie, a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts who has worked in musical theatre for the past 10 years, has officially taken over the iconic role of Frank N. Furter from McLachlan after a series of sexual misconduct allegations against the former Neighbours star.
Rennie will continue as the lead when the show heads to Brisbane and Perth.
Rennie had only one three hour rehearsal of the show on Tuesday before he took to the stage as Frank for the first time that night.
“As an understudy, you should be 100 per cent ready to go by opening night because anything can happen,” he said.
“In the very short amount of time we had to rehearse, I was soaking up as much of the show as I could and once I was
put on the spot, I was ready to go.”
Rennie’s performance has won the praise of critics and audiences, and the respect of his fellow cast members.
“It feels very much like an ensemble piece now, that is really rare in music theatre and Michelle Smitheram, who
plays Janet Weiss in the show. Her sentiments were echoed by Rob Mallett who plays her opposite as Brad Majors.
“The old adage of the show must go on has never been more true,” he said.
“It’s quite strange to be in the eye of the storm with this massive scandal happening all around us.
“There was all this banter and crap on social media from some people saying they wanted their money back and we
were hyper-aware that the top billing actor was no longer with us.
“But the moment I saw a glint in Adam’s eye when he walked on stage I knew it would be great.” While McLachlan may have been Rocky Horror’s big name, the cast say its triumph without its star should be a lesson.
“I would like to think that this is a message to producers in Australia, who have been conservative in their casting
bowing down to ‘star casting’, that these shows are bigger than one star,” Mallett said.
“Rocky Horror is what people want to be entertained by and every night this week they’ve still been given the experience that they want and love.”
The Rocky Horror Show ends its Adelaide season tomorrow with limited tickets available through BASS.