The understudy who stepped in at the last minute to replace Craig McLachlan in The Rocky Horror Show will take on the role of Frank N Furter for the rest of the tour when the show plays in Brisbane and Perth. Rennie, who recently returned to Australia from New York, where he performed in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Once We Lived Here and the US national tour of Flashdance – The Musical, performed the role of Frank N Furter in Adelaide after McLachlan left the show amid allegations of indecent assault and sexual harassment.
“Rennie has the looks, the legs, the luscious lips and most importantly of all, the lungs to make a meal of this iconic role,” wrote the Adelaide Advertiser. “The night was Rennie’s and it was a triumph, and the audience stood and screamed their heads off.”
The WAAPA graduate recently performed in Sydney in Hayes Theatre Co productions of Big Fish and Melba. “Adam Rennie’s vocals are absolutely gorgeous,” wrote Jo Litson of Rennie’s performance in the role of Will Bloom in a Limelight review of Big Fish.
The casting announcement comes as the Managing Director of the Gordon Frost Organisation, John Frost, released a statement apologising to Erika Heynatz, Christie Whelan Browne and Angela Scundi, who recently accused McLachlan of sexual misconduct during the 2014 tour of Rocky Horror Show.
“Anyone should feel comfortable reporting issues of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying, and the fact that these three women did not feel as though they could report these issues in 2014 is concerning and distressing to me, and I sincerely apologise to them for this,” Frost said in the statement.
Heynatz, Whelan Browne and Scundi have been critical of the Gordon Frost Organisation’s handling of the allegations, claiming they complained at the time but that nothing was done about it.
“I have no reason to disbelieve anyone who says they spoke to one of our managers in 2014, however none of our managers were aware of any issues that warranted further action at the time, and all of our employees were aware of the procedures of making a complaint,” Frost said. “However we can and we will strive to do better. In light of these recent events, I am determined to enforce a culture at GFO where no one is fearful of reporting incidents and I can assure all cast and crew that I will be personally instructing all of our managers to listen and act decisively and proactively should an issue be brought to them, so that our employees are confident of a safe and secure work environment.”
Christie Whelan Browne claimed that in 2014 she spoke to Frost about McLachlan’s aggressive behaviour backstage during a performance.
“I’d also like to say to Christie, who said she spoke to me personally backstage and told me that she was frightened of Craig, that I can honestly say while I remember seeing her briefly, I cannot remember any discussion around Craig,” Frost has responded. “I can only explain this by pointing out that I speak to many people backstage across many productions and have little time to spend with each person.”
McLachlan has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct and aggressive behaviour, which are the subject of an investigation by Victoria police. “Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety,” McLachlan said in an email to the ABC. “In either event, they are to the best of my knowledge utterly and entirely false.”
Since the story broke on Monday, the result of a joint investigation by the ABC and Fairfax Media, two former cast members, who asked not to be identified, have alleged a GFO manager ignored their complaints about bullying, according to a report by the ABC, one relating to McLachlan’s behaviour and another relating to a senior member of the crew. The ABC reported on Tuesday that two former crew members from the 2014 Rocky Horror Show, one male and one female, have also contacted police.
Today the ABC reported that two more women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by McLachlan – a driver on a TV production who said he made inappropriate comments and a salon worker who said he kissed her without her consent.
Meanwhile, the ABC has pulled The Doctor Blake Mysteries, which stars McLachlan, from it’s streaming platform iView. “The ABC has made the decision to withdraw from iView series five of the program and the telemovie length final episode, both broadcast in 2017,” the ABC said in a statement. “A repeat broadcast of The Doctor Blake telemovie scheduled for January 25 has also been withdrawn.”
December Media, the production company behind The Doctor Blake Mysteries (for which the Seven Network has acquired the rights for 2018) has suspended production on the next series “to allow due process”.
Whelan Browne also hit out at suggestions she, Scundi and Heynatz have ulterior motifs for coming forward with allegations against McLachlan. “The importance in coming forward is trying to get people to understand that you don’t do this for notoriety,” Whelan Browne told the ABC. “I don’t want to be associated with Craig McLachlan for the rest of my life. And you don’t do it for money. There is no money.”
“I’ve hired my own lawyers. I’m not being paid to be here. I risked my career, there’s no money to be made,” she said. “You do it for other women and for yourself.”
While there have been reports that some ticket-holders asked for refunds following the announcement that McLachlan would no longer be performing in The Rocky Horror Show, the box office doesn’t seem to have been affected, with new shows added to the Brisbane run.