Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, then touring
Guest Reviewer: Joanne Hodge
If you wanna rock, then come on feel the noize and have nothing but a good time with the cast of Rock of Ages. Phil McCandlish (production manager) and Nick Winston (director and choreographer) have managed to stage a Wembley worthy rock concert on the theatre stage. All ages present, all unable to keep their hands still or bums on seats to some of the most epic rock anthems.
Set predominantly on Sunset Strip, the story of how two souls searching for fame, Sheree (Rhiannon Chesterman) and Drew (Luke Walsh), lose their way and opportunity for real love at the hands of Stacee Jaxx (star of Strictly Come Dancing, Kevin Clifton), who is the frontman of rock legends Arsenal.
The cast confidently portrays the ‘behind the scenes’ antics of the rock music industry and it’s ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll’ image is brought to life and the reality made clear.
The Nevada strip is threatened by German father and son property developer team, Hertz and Franz, however Regina (former PA to the Mayor) seasoned protester takes matters into her own hands (including Franz, who along with the audience is surprised to find out he is not gay). Along with a team of demonstrators she eventually manages to secure the future of the Bourbon Room, which is a famous venue built along with the city on rock and roll.
Each cast member has a perfect set of lungs, to provide the power required to deliver such anthems and do them justice. I was astounded by the quality of the voices, no more than that of ‘Kevin from Grimsby’ (Clifton), the show’s star, who alongside his vocal performance manages to demonstrate choreography that we all know him for, including some fairly aggressive thrusting, whilst wearing white skinny jeans and a cowboy hat!
My personal star of the show has to be Lonny (Joe Gates) who is a team member at the Bourbon Room and very close friend of the owner Dennis Dupree. He engages the audience from the word go, he is the perfect rocker and whilst telling the story manages to do so in a way that makes it gossip like, which draws you in further… he has charm and wit in abundance.
Impossible to keep feet and hands still, not sing along and not to laugh ….. this show is exactly what the Rock God’s ordered after a difficult 18 months, the ultimate feel good show. It was evident from the start that every cast member wanted to be on that stage and enjoyed the show equally if not more than those watching.
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