Rising star Adam Rennie is earning critical acclaim after taking on the lead role in the Rocky Horror Show, vacated by Craig McLachlan amid allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Rennie took to the Adelaide Festival Centre stage on Tuesday night for the first performance since McLachlan agreed to leave the show.
Three cast members from the 2014 production of the popular musical have told a Fairfax Media/ABC investigation that the 52-year-old inappropriately touched them or exposed himself.
A woman and a man who worked as part of the crew have also gone to Victorian police who are investigating the allegations.
McLachlan has denied any wrongdoing and the show’s producers say they first learned the details of the allegations in media reports this week.
But they have promised to cooperate fully with authorities and conduct an internal investigation.
Heading into Tuesday’s night’s show, fans had mixed views on whether or not he should have withdrawn.
But critics praised Rennie’s work, the Adelaide Advertiser describing it as a triumph.
Audience members also took to Twitter describing him as “incredible” and “genuine and hilarious”.
The allegations against McLachlan come from actresses Erika Heynatz, Christie Whelan Browne and Angela Scundi.
Whelan Browne said McLachlan, who played transvestite Frank N Furter to her character Janet, indecently assaulted her on stage during a sex scene.
Scundi alleged McLachlan kissed her passionately onstage even after she had asked that it not be done.
The two women have also rejected suggestions the producers weren’t told of McLachlan’s behaviour.
“There were two people in management that I spoke to directly and I can’t imagine that they could look me in the face and say that those conversations never happened,” Scundi told the 7.30 Report.
Whelan Browne said she spoke to the managing director of the production company, John Frost.
“I went to John, which he says he doesn’t recall, another cast member also spoke to him that day. So, that’s two people who spoke to him and if he doesn’t recall it, we do,” she said.
McLachlan has described all the allegations as “baseless”.
“They seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety,” he was quoted as writing.