The Rocky Horror Show comes to Perth in August and celebrates 50 years of madness taking its toll.
By Ara Jansen
“It’s a chance to be a rock star,” laughs David Bedella about the fourth time he’ll be playing the notoriously sexy and strange Dr Frank’n’Furter for the Rocky Horror Show’s 50th anniversary tour.
“You don’t get that often in musical theatre and you get to sing everything from raunchy numbers to beautiful ballads,” he says. “Plus, stepping through the doors and seeing the audience leap to their feet is an amazing feeling.”
He also feels embarrassingly comfortable in the suspenders and platform shoes, which are an essential part of Frank’n’Furter’s costume. “I have to dance and run and hop in them and it was never a problem for me. At least they are platforms and not stilettos!”
David – who turns 61 this year – admits it’s exciting to be his age and playing such an iconic and energetic role. While he can no longer party like it’s 1999, it is a perfect opportunity to be highly conscious about how he treats himself. David makes sure he gets to the gym, stays well hydrated, doesn’t drink and party all night and limits long phone calls to his sisters to preserve his voice.
An American who relocated to England early on in his career, David has spent his life in the theatre, winning awards for his work in Jerry Springer – The Opera, In the Heights and & Juliet. Over the past decade has also moved into film and TV, appearing in numerous shows including Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Deep State and All the Old Knives.
Now he’s thrilled to be part of the touring show for Rocky Horror’s 50th anniversary which opens in Perth in August. Written and created by Richard O’Brien, Rocky Horror Show is one of the world’s favourite musicals and a classic of musical theatre. It’s currently the only contemporary rock musical to celebrate 50 years on stage.
Since first opening in London in 1973 at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs to 63 people, the show has been continuously on stage somewhere in the world. Stars who have appeared in the show over the years include Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Meat Loaf, Jerry Springer, Adam Lambert, Emma Bunton, Stephen Fry, Bert Newton, Gretel Killeen, Derryn Hinch, Jason Donovan and Shane Jacobsen.
Let’s not forget the 1975 movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has made more than $135 million and continues to be screened around the world.
David believes the show has become part of the pop culture lexicon for numerous reasons, including having a great story and songs that have stood the test of time.
“Part of it is also the audience getting so excited at the shows. We’re living in a world where people have so many restrictions and societal norms. Coming to this show lets people live how they want to live, granted within some parameters. People can put on their heels, dress up, come along and have fun and for a little while, forget their problems.”
Tim Curry still sets the bar for Frank’n’Furter, so David tries to bring something different to each performance, drawing from his life and experience.
“You feed the machine of the character each time and see what comes out. Sometimes it’s a surprise to me as well as the audience. I love that. What makes the role so interesting is that constant change. Sometimes he can be short-tempered and stroppy or more congenial, remembering what best serves the story. The art is to always do it with the character in mind.”
The Rocky Horror Show is at Crown Theatre from August 6 – 13. Tickets from Ticketmaster.
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