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    Singing in the Rhyn

    Brendan van Rhyn, current star of The Rocky Horror Show, chats about doing the time warp over and over again.

    BizcommunityThis is the second time you've played the role of mad scientist Frank-n-Furter. What drew you to the character (and the show) in the first place?

    I didn't know much about the show when I auditioned for it the first time in the late-1990s. This was just before I went to study. I had just got an agent in Joburg and she was sending me into that big wide world to get a taste of what was in store. Needless to say, I didn't get in to the musical until I auditioned 10 years later (at the same theatre) and was offered the lead role!

    The Rocky Horror Show audiences can be a bit rowdy. What's been the strangest or funniest experience you've had so far in Cape Town and Joburg?

    You get those audiences (mostly individuals), of course, who don't know when enough is enough. We don't have a problem with rowdy people at all, except when it starts affecting other audience members. Weekends are also mad because the booze flows freely and inhibitions are truly left at home. Some things I can't repeat, as much as I would love to, but I do remember an incident in my first run in Cape Town that took me by surprise.

    There is a scene in which I chase Rocky through the audience, so I go up the one side of the auditorium, disappear around the back and then come down on the other side again. One night, I did so as usual, came up quite close next to a guy, made a noise (or sound if you wish) and this big guy got such a fright, his first instinct was to lash out and hit - which he did not once, but twice - connecting nicely with my jaw! The funny thing is that I met him a few weeks later, as he knew my neighbour in the apartment block I was staying in.

    Singing in the Rhyn

    Since it opened in July last year, over 120,000 people around the country have seen the show. What do you think makes it so popular?

    This show works on so many levels, but one of the main reasons is that it offers complete escapism. Audiences can come to the show and for those two hours just let their hair down. No one will pass any judgement if, as a male, fishnet stockings are your thing. I think it also awakens something in you that you never knew existed.
    The audience participation is also a huge draw card (there are partici ... pation packs for sale) so audiences really get in on the action - they do not for one moment feel excluded from what's happening on stage. I'd also like to think that I have something to do with it!

    The Rocky Horror Show is at Pieter Toerien's Main Theatre at Montecasino until 1 February. Book at Computicket.

    About Eugene Yiga

    Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit www.eugeneyiga.com, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.
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