Popular broadcaster, television presenter, journalist and writer Myf Warhurst doesn’t mind challenging herself.
From ABC TV’s hugely-popular music/comedy quiz show Spicks and Specks to co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest, appearing on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Australia and Have You Been Paying Attention?, joining great mate Peter Helliar on Triple M’s Melbourne Breakfast Show and reporting for The Project on Network Ten – to name a handful of credits, her impressive body of work reaffirms that trait.
She even lends her voice to much-loved kids’ phenomenon, Bluey, as Aunt Trixie.
So, it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise to see the effervescent 50-year-old step onto the stage – and out of her comfort zone – as The Narrator for The Rocky Horror Show, which recently ended its record-breaking season in Newcastle.
One of the world’s most iconic productions of all time, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, took place at the Civic Theatre with more than 30,000 passing through the doors.
Myf was still pinching herself at joining Jason Donovan (Frank N Furter) and their colleagues in the former steel city.
“I know, it’s amazing… honestly, I cannot believe it,” she said.
“It’s something I never thought I’d be doing, although I did work with this beautiful cast for the first six months of 2023.
“At least I know what I’m doing now.
“When I first started, I was terrified because I’d never done anything like it before.
“But, they were so good to me and they were so supportive.
“It’s just wild… and beyond my wildest dreams.
“It is funny, we had Richard O’Brien (who wrote the musical stage show in 1973) on Spicks and Specks years ago.
“That was amazing because I grew up watching The Rocky Horror Show, listening to the soundtrack and doing the Time Warp.
“So, it was incredible to share the space with him back then.
“However, to be in the musical in 2024 – where I never thought I’d get the chance – what can I say?
“I’m just blown away.”
Myf quickly got over her nerves and nailed the role.
“Because I don’t have any acting experience, I thought it might be scary,” she said.
“I put myself in the deep end.
“But, as The Narrator, you’re holding a book, with the lines in it, so that was fine.
“Just doing something that was completely new for me, while relying on a whole bunch of people to pull together at the same time and create something different each night, it’s wonderful.
“It’s amazing to be a part of that.
“I didn’t want to let anyone down, so I think that was the terrifying aspect of it all.
“However, once you’ve done it a few times – and we’ve completed hundreds of shows since then, it all makes sense now.
“I love it.
“It was great hanging out with the beautiful cast again.
“They’re so, so talented and so brilliant… they’re also my friends now.”
Myf said she was drawn to The Rocky Horror Show for several reasons.
“It’s a combination of a few things,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.
“I wanted to try something I’ve never done before but also, it’s a little rock and roll fantasy.
“Growing up, I remember watching the movie – we had a battered VHS copy of it that went around all my friends because we didn’t have the internet.
“But, it blew my mind.
“That was my introduction to musicals in a way, which led to theatre shows.
“It opened a whole new world for me.
“So, it’s the rock and roll fantasy of being in it, as well as the challenge.
“I feel like it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. … I’ve had a great time.”
For the uninitiated, the musical tells the story of a newly-engaged couple getting caught in a storm and venturing to the home of a mad transvestite scientist, Dr Frank-N-Furter, unveiling his new creation, Rocky, a sort of Frankenstein-style monster in the form of an artificially made, fully grown, physically perfect muscle man complete “with blond hair and a tan”.
Myf said she understood why more than 30 million people had witnessed it worldwide.
“When it came out, it was totally bonkers… and it still is,” she explained.
“It’s got cracking rock songs and beautiful ballads and things like that.
“I mean, Don’t Dream It Be It is one of the most gorgeous moments in the show.
“And, they sing that towards the end of the production.
“So, there are plenty of songs you know and love.
“Also, the storyline – it’s a sci-fi fantasy, rock and roll musical.
“While it’s totally bonkers, it’s got heart as well, which resonates in the message of Don’t Dream It Be It.
“It’s telling you to be who you want to be.
“I believe that’s what makes Rocky Horror so enduring.
“People love the idea that it’s okay to show who you are.”
Even though Myf enjoyed many “fan girl” occasions on Spicks and Specks, singer Pete Murray comes to mind, she’s in awe of her current co-star.
“I love him,” she said.
“If I told 13-year-old me that I’d be sharing the stage with Jason Donovan, I would have lost my tiny mind back then.
“I could never have imagined it.
“Everything I watched musically, growing up, was like a little portal to another world.
“And, Jason was a certified heartthrob for a lot of people, including me.
“However, the best bit is he’s awesome and great fun when you meet him.
“We get along like a house on fire.
“I don’t think people realise what a legend he is in the UK in the world of musical theatre.
“Because he left Australia early on, we haven’t witnessed the true evolution of him… we still see him as Jason from Neighbours.
“But, he’s had 30 years working in musical theatre.
“So, to get the chance to work beside and learn from someone like him is incredible.
“Jason’s so caring and supportive, especially knowing I came in with no experience.
“Not once has he made me feel bad about that.
“He’s just supported me 100%, so I’m really grateful for that.
“Being in Newcastle is fabulous.
“We did the Spicks and Specks ‘live’ show at the Civic Theatre.
“I love it, it’s a beautiful, old venue.
“I’ve always had a great time in Newcastle but I hadn’t been there for years and years, way before COVID.
“So, I was keen to return.”
Myf grew up in regional Victoria before moving to the city to study Music and Fine Arts at Melbourne Uni.
She worked for some time as a journalist, providing arts and music stories for The Age and Inpress magazine, before becoming managing editor of the Melbourne street paper in 1999.
Then, she was introduced to radio as the showbiz reporter on Merrick and Rosso’s Triple J Drive Show in 1999.
When they left, Myf moved into a full-time gig at the Js, hosting the Saturday night request show in 2000 before landing the afternoon shift in 2003.
She combined her loves – playing CDs, talking about music, pop culture and chatting with folks – to create her infamous daily segment, The Trashy Lunchtime Quiz.
In January 2008, she left Triple J and joined Helliar on the Pete and Myf Triple M Melbourne Breakfast Show.
Between 2014 and 2017, she presented Lunch With Myf weekdays on ABC’s digital radio station Double J.
The opportunity to play new releases, talk to musicians and have free reign to delve into the archives made it the perfect home for this massive music fan.
From 2018 to 2019, Myf hosted the daily afternoon show on ABC Radio.
But, she’s best known for her seven-year stint wrangling rock stars and other showbiz luminaries as a team captain on Spicks and Specks.
After 277 episodes Myf, Alan Brough and Adam Hills decided to finish the show on a high note in 2011.
Starting in Sydney in November, she toured the country with the guys performing the successful Spicks & Speck-tacular – a concert version of the program.
More than 80,000 dedicated fans came to farewell the trio over 27 shows with the tour wrapping up in Melbourne in January 2012.
In 2018, Myf, Alan and Adam returned to reboot Spicks for a one-off special that was the ABC’s highest rating program of the year.
This year, for the first time since 2014, the gang returned with a full 10-episode series that aired on Sunday nights.
So, what’s left for her to do?
“I want to give anything a go that’s challenging or entertaining people or helping them to learn,” she said.
“I’ve done some things lately that are sort of outside my comfort zone, such as making documentaries, which no one knows me for.
“I quite enjoy that.
“However, it’s good to push yourself and it’s good to learn and share that knowledge.
“So, I’m happy to throw myself into things, although I don’t think I could do any acting.
“I call what I do ‘actoring’… it’s an imitation of acting,” she added with a laugh.
“I don’t believe you’ll see me appearing in any Logie Award-winning dramas.
“But, you never know.
“I feel very lucky that I’m at this point in my career where I can do brilliant things like this (Rocky Horror) and meet a bunch of people I would never have normally met on a show.
“It’s been a real joy.”
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