Rock of Ages Review
‘A fun-filled, energetic musical that is heavy on clever innuendos, raunchy routines and is absolutely packed with memorable rock hits. Rock of Ages takes you back to a time when men rocked guy-liner, denim was all the rage, and glam rock was the in-thing’.
In contrast to the Rock of Ages film released back in 2012, the musical of the same name doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, and is arguably all the better for it. Rather than attempting to force a deep, twisting plot on theatre goers, the storyline – whilst the show has a clear one – takes a backseat as the show sticks to what it knows best – high energy, saucy routines, classic hits, big ballads and more 80s nostalgia than you could ever dream of. That’s not to say the show lacks an entertaining storyline, just rather it’s a tried and tested love story that won’t leave audiences shocked at the end, although, as mentioned by a number of characters throughout the performance, this is something that the show is very aware of.
If there were any doubt over how serious Rock of Ages would be, Lonny (Lucas Rush), the narrator, quickly sets the tone with an entertaining direct address that just screams self-awareness, making it clear for all to see that this is a camp heavy, tongue-in-cheek musical that’s full of everything you loved (and love to hate) about the 80s.
For those who are familiar with the Rock of Ages movie, the musical generally follows the same plot, although there are some character and scene differences which actually result in a more enjoyable experience than that offered by the film.
Rock of Ages centres around a number of main characters, some who are attempting to fulfil their dreams, and one who is very much ‘living the dream’…for the time being at least. The story sees Sherrie (Jodie Steele) leave home and head to the ‘Sunset Strip’ in LA with a dream of becoming a star. It is here in The Bourbon Club where she first meets aspiring rock star Drew (Luke Walsh), who helps her settle in her new home and secures her some work at the club. With the legendary Bourbon Club under threat from German father and son duo Franz (Andrew Carthy) and Hurtz (Vas Constanti), club owner Dennis (Kevin Kennedy) turns to his old acquaintance, rock god Stacee Jaxx (Kevin Clifton) in an attempt to save his much loved club from becoming the latest property development. Jaxx’s introduction, as if it wasn’t already high enough, turns the raunchy behaviour up to a level that is off the scale and continues for the entire show. Whilst the love story remains front and centre throughout, the story branches out well throughout in order to introduce new locations and characters, including the straight talking ‘Gentleman’s Club’ owner, Justice (Zoe Birkett), and serial protester Regina (Rhiannon Chesterman), both of who provide hilarious moments and keep the audience fully engaged whenever they are on stage.
What follows is a fun-filled, energetic musical that is heavy on clever innuendos, raunchy routines and is absolutely packed with memorable rock hits. Jumping from classic track to classic track, we’re treated to some big hits, all of which are performed excellently by the main cast and ensemble, with some particularly strong vocal performances from Jodie Steele, Luke Walsh and Zoe Birkett. There are genuine laugh out loud moments throughout the racy performance, with a couple of particularly clever one-liners that may go missed by some. It has to be highlighted just how raunchy some of the routines and outfits, or lack of, can be, with more than one ‘act’ being simulated during the performance – it certainly is not a show for the younger theatre-goers.
Rock of Ages takes you back to a time when men rocked guy-liner, denim was all the rage, and glam rock was the in-thing. It’s well worth taking a trip back to the 80s, even if it is only for a couple of hours.
Rock of Ages is showing at The Regent Theatre until Saturday 16th February 2019.
Tickets are available from: www.atgtickets.com/shows/rock-of-ages/regent-theatre/