The cast of the 2014 40th anniversary production of Rocky Horror show.
The cast of the 2014 40th anniversary production of Rocky Horror show. Jeff Busby

Time warp: Rocky Horror turns 40 with a new production

ROCKY Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien has flown into Brisbane for tonight's premiere of the musical at QPAC.

The rock 'n' roll musical celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and continues to be a cult hit performed around the world.

The actor and writer said the show is in safe hands with director Christopher Luscombe, who created the new production for a year-long national tour in the UK.

"As long as Chris is at the helm I can relax," O'Brien told APN.

"This production is based around the formula that he decided on for the tour in Great Britain, so the set is basically the same and he's working with very familiar kinds of principals."

He also said it's a shot at redemption for Craig McLachlan, who is reprising the role of Frank N Furter he played 10 years ago.

"The last production he was in wasn't governed by us and they attempted to be adventurous with Rocky and went beyond their remit to some extent from what I heard," he said.

"Craig and I were doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in Britain together and even he confessed they kind of went off plot somehow or other, so it's terribly nice for him to grasp the nettle again. I believe he's fantastic. They had the first (preview) show the other night and he got a standing ovation, so I can't wait to see him."

O'Brien said he continues to be amazed at the wide variety of theatre-goers the show attracts.

With an alien transvestite as a protagonist, and plenty of flesh on display, Rocky Horror Show has become synonymous with sexual liberation.

"I was in Germany after the wall came down (1990) and I went through to East Germany and I saw three productions in three nights in three different parts of Germany," he said.

"I was in the front row (of one show) with a producer friend of mine and there were these two girls, aged 12 I suppose, who were sitting at the end and… these two girls were singing along with all the songs in English. I just don't understand how that happens; why two teenage girls would know all these songs.

"It just seems to keep interesting the young people and grabbing their attention."

He still remembers the first time he saw actor Tim Curry play Frank N Furter in the original 1973 London production.

Curry went on to star in the 1975 movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show opposite Susan Sarandon.

O'Brien co-wrote the screenplay and played Riff Raff in the film.

"What a lot of men don't understand is the attractiveness of Frank N Furter to women, but women understand it," he said.

"The first time we saw Tim Curry strutting down the catwalk singing 'I'm a sweet transvestite' with rips in his stockings… in tattoos and makeup and high heels and there were women sitting in the audience going 'hello'.

"We had no idea that that effect that would take place… something happens and you think 'ooh that's a bit sexy'. I think they (audience members) surprise themselves at finding it so."

The Rocky Horror Show opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre tonight and plays through February 9. For more information and tickets go to

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