Rock Of Ages: The Musical
Grand Opera House, York, September 2
I was asked if I wanted to review this show, and I was in two minds. I’d tried to watch the movie and had to switch it off as I couldn’t listen to my favourite Eighties rock songs being massacred, to put it bluntly.
That said I’d heard good things about this show and thought I should give it a chance.
Having not watched the movie fully, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect or what the storyline was. It’s a mix of a love story, forgotten dreams, the fight between the little man and the big corporation, and missed opportunities.
You don’t care about all that though do you? All you want to know is was it good? No, it wasn’t.
It was bloody brilliant. It far exceeded my expectations.
This show was full of humour, energy, cheesy jokes, skimpy costumes, even skimpier costumes, and rock! The audience lapped it up.
As far as I could see opening night was played to a packed house, and the majority were on their feet before the end of the show.
I nervously took along my 12 year old daughter, unsure of how she’d react, and forgetting she’s been brought up to love Eighties rock by her Dad. Aside from some very adult humour and occasional bad language I needn’t have worried, and let’s be fair, she’s seen and heard a lot worse on TV.
She absolutely loved it. It’s one of those shows where we were both bouncing by the end of it, and talked about it all the way home.
I’m going to struggle to pick any individual cast member out for praise as frankly, they all did an excellent job.
The band spent the evening on the back of the stage, often giving the cast raised eyebrows, and generally looking aloof. They rocked! Big time.
Pierce Tee on keys, Andy Gammon on guitar, Gary Liederman on bass, Alex Marchisone on drums and Ashley Williams on Guitar. The sound quality was excellent, something I can’t always say about the Grand Opera House.
The set was cleverly designed, mainly being the Bourbon Bar, but with an interesting pop out room that left you wondering what would appear next.
The movie screen at the back of the set bears watching as sometimes it’s just playing a background scene, but quite often there are photos and movies playing up there that enhance the story.
Watch out for action that’s almost out of sight in the wings as well. Top right in the finale make sure to look out for the llama.
There are 18 cast members, some playing multiple roles, and often having fast costume changes. Stephen Rahman-Hughes is your narrator Lonny. He guides you through the action and is a character that brings the others together.
He’s cheeky and loveable, and has interesting taste in T-shirts…
Noel Sullivan as Drew and Cordelia Farnworth as Sherrie are the love interest. When it all goes wrong their characters transform, although I think Sherrie got the better part of that deal. I couldn’t help thinking Christina Aguilera when I saw her transformation.
Daniel Fletcher is Dennis Dupree, the bar owner and aging hippy. An absolute contrast to the rockers on the stage, but he was fun to watch and played the part well.
My daughter’s favourite was Abigail Climer as Waitress 1; she felt she had an amazing voice, which I agree with. But then for me all the cast had excellent voices and did the songs justice.
Cameron Sharp is Franz, an absolutely over the top character. He doesn’t walk across the stage as much as flounces, and is so over the top you can’t help but have tears of laughter in your eyes watching him.
My eyes are still watering at the high kicks the dancers achieved in the strip club scene. The dancers outfits left little to the imagination, and even less in some scenes, but they all looked amazing. It didn’t come across as seedy at all, just well choreographed and fun.
Just because I haven’t mentioned everyone else by name, please don’t think I didn’t love their performances, I did. Every single person on that stage put their heart and soul into it.
Rock of Ages is on at the Grand Opera House until Saturday, and judging by audience reaction last night you’d better grab your tickets quick. It’s a fast paced, hugely entertaining show and I’d highly recommend it.
Rock Of Ages is at the Grand Opera House until Saturday, September 6. Full details on the theatre website