An actress who accused Craig McLachlan of commenting on her white knickers and “slit” during the 2014 run of The Rocky Horror Show verbally abused other cast members at the time, a jury has heard.

Giving evidence from the UK, actor Kristian Lavercombe, 46, said Christie Whelan Browne made risque banter with McLachlan, 56, and was seen teasing other cast members with jokes about their talent and appearance.

Lavercombe said Whelan Browne and McLachlan had a similar sense of humour and would often play pranks by “goosing” each other. This meant pinching someone else’s buttocks, the actor explained.

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“They were risque and funny. People were laughing but they would egg each other on,” he said.

Whelan Browne was accused of “running down” another actress Erika Heynatz by saying she looked like a “tranny” and had “man-hands”.

“Erika’s quite tall so she was always insinuating she looked like a man, but saying it as a joke,” Lavercombe said.

Heynatz and Whelan Browne had a falling out during the show after management gave Heynatz the larger dressing room in Perth.

Lavercombe said Whelan Browne had also made fun of another actress, saying she wasn’t talented enough to play the main role of Janet in The Rocky Horror Show. 

This other actress, who cannot be named, played Janet while Whelan Browne took time off during the 2014 run.

Lavercombe recounted an environment during the Rocky Horror production where actors and actresses would frequently hug and kiss each other, drape their arms over other cast members, and sit on each other’s laps. 

“‘The cast would be lazing around, lying on each other, sleeping on each other, chilling out basically,” he said.

The actor said he had heard Heynatz joke about leaving a “snail trail” on McLachlan’s legs after sitting on his lap for a photo-shoot. 

McLachlan is suing the ABC, Fairfax and Whelan Browne for defamation over two articles published in January 2018 which accuse the actor of touching, kissing and groping actresses without permission in The Rocky Horror Show, Neighbours, City Homicide, and The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

The hearing continues.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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