iOTA to don heels again
For one of Australia’s most vibrant and charismatic performers, iOTA is surprisingly quiet.
The polite and unassuming star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch strolls over to this Star City café in his black get-up, piercings and boots, and pulls up a chair.
“I have been called an alternative queer,” he says. “Whatever the hell that means.”
Clearly not one for labels, iOTA turns our attention to his new role as the outrageous Frank-N-Furter in Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show.
The new Australian production of the cult classic will open at Star City in February 2008. And iOTA is understandably chuffed.
“I saw the live Rocky Horror Show back in the 80s, when I was 13 or 14, and I have been pretending to be Frank-N-Furter ever since,” he said.
“My mum and dad were aerobics instructors at the time. And whenever they left the house I would put the album on and do the whole show.”
He compares the character to Gene Simmons from ‘70s metal band, Kiss. He says it’s all about the make-up, heels, tights and rock ’n’ roll, “and of course doing things you are not supposed to be doing”.
His astronomical success as the lead in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which included a Helpmann Award, a Sydney Theatre award and a Green Room award, catapulted iOTA to musical theatre fame.
But behind the theatre doors he has also clocked up six ARIA nominations for his music and is currently tapping away at his fifth album.
But theatre is a priority at the moment, iOTA says, because it is new and he is excited about it.
The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of squeaky-clean sweethearts Brad and Janet who knock on the door of an eerie house to find leather-clad transvestite Frank-N-Furter.
The night that ensues, according to iOTA, is about “letting loose and giving yourself over to absolute pleasure”.
Paul Capsis will play Riff Raff the butler, Tamsin Carroll the maid Magenta and Sharon Millerchip, Columbia. Kellie Rose from Mamma Mia plays Janet and Michael Cormick will be Eddie.
iOTA said the production was still relevant to today’s audience, “even more so now, with people embracing the subject of sexuality”.
iOTA moved to Sydney from Pinjarra in Western Australia when he was 22 years of age. Growing up in a town of 8,000 people, he said, was difficult as a young, gay man.
“It was pretty ‘sucky’, actually,” he said. “I went through the whole traumatic denial gay experience, and I didn’t really come out until I was 26.
“It wasn’t until I got to Sydney that I saw my first gay couple. You just didn’t see that in a country town. All you ever heard about gay people and homosexuality was that it was wrong.”
The Sydney season of The Rocky Horror Show went on sale Monday 27 August. It opens at the Star Theatre in February 2008. Call Ticketmaster on 1300 795 267 or go to www.ticketmaster.com.au.