AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Comic in Suspenders : Jim Sharman’s Circus Worlds in The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This article reframes an icon of twentieth-century cross-cultural folklore. It argues that the protagonist in The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show is both a hybrid of two types of comic entertainers and an example of the way the pantomime tradition travelled between England and Australia. By clarifying what original Rockydirector, the Australian Jim Sharman, likes to call his “colourful past”, and by exploring his many reflections on popular culture, this article maps out his relationship to the aesthetics of the circus world and to clowning in order to understand their echoes in Rocky Horror. Sharman’s numerous references to Australian popular culture unveil a circus-struck theatrical ethos. They also convey that Dr Franknfurter, the Transylvanian scientist protagonist in the musical and film, is funny because he is so much a clown. In fact, this sweet transvestite extraterrestre draws on qualities of two quintessential comic favourites of the circus world: violent clowns and panto dames. The Franknfurter character is thus related to both: the axe-wielding cannibalesque antics of comic madcaps from the (sawdust) stage and the Australian comedians and dame role performers Bobby le Brun and Barry Humphries. Frankie is a blend of particular clown traditions as well as their dashing actualisation.'  (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Journal of Australian Studies vol. 43 no. 4 2018 15406747 2018 periodical issue

    'This issue offers a detailed exploration of the ways in which blind spots can prevent us from seeing the different stories, experiences and representations that constitute who we are as Australians, whether we like it or not.' (Maggie NolaJames KeatingJulie Kimber and Ellen SmithHistorical Blind Spots

    pg. 507-523
Last amended 14 Jan 2019 09:36:55
507-523 Comic in Suspenders : Jim Sharman’s Circus Worlds in The Rocky Horror (Picture) Showsmall AustLit logo Journal of Australian Studies
    Powered by Trove