Book by: Chris D’Arienzo
Director: Kristin Hanggi
Choreographer: Kelly Devine
Reviewer: Gina Skillings
Its 1987 on LA’s Sunset strip where the hair is big, the egos bigger, Rock is king, and everyone wants to be a star. Drew (Noel Sullivan), a budding Rock star and Sherrie (Cordelia Farnworth), wannabe actress, both work at the Bourbon Room Club while they chase their dreams and a classic ‘rock’ love story unfolds.
Packed with some of Eighties Rock’s finest tunes by the likes of Bon Jovi, Poison, Europe and Journey to name a few, Rock of Ages follows Drew and Sherrie as they try to make it, with a few hiccups along the way in the form of Rock God Stacee Jaxx (Ben Richards), and a German property developer who wants to demolish the Bourbon Room – all with hilarious consequences.
Sullivan and Farnworth are tremendous in the rôles of Drew and Sherrie with perfect delivery vocally as well as having a lovely on stage connection. Richards makes for a fine Rock God ego-maniac and although the part is huge in stage presence, it actually doesn’t involve a huge amount of stage time, but with excellent vocals and moves this doesn’t seem to matter and he steals the scenes he is in.
The other stars of the show are club owner Dennis Dupree (Daniel Fletcher) and his side kick Lonny (played on this occasion by Chris Southgate) who also acts as the shows ‘narrator’ and both make a fantastic comedy duo. Southgate’s comic timing and witty one liner’s bring the house down again and again and the vocals from the pair are not too shoddy either. Other characters such as the German property developer’s rather camp son Franz (Cameron Sharp) and activist Regina (Jessie May) also bring great comedy value to the plot, with a laugh out loud musical performance in the second Act.
The stage set has been replicated from the London show and works just as well on a smaller set. A variation in heights, neon signs and the projected images on the back wall all add to the barrage on the senses. The live band, which are also excellent, play on the ‘stage’ at the back of the Bourbon Room, and remain there for the entirety of the performance taking on the rôle of Stacee Jaxx band and getting involved in the plot line on occasion.
Personally, it’s hard to find fault with this show, the music is great and delivered exceptionally well, and there is some real comedy genius in the script writing. Like with all the musicals that use cover songs the plot line seems to have been slightly composed around the music rather than the other way around and there is a modicum of bad language and sexual reference. But it’s hard to believe a standing ovation from a full house can be wrong – if you want a ‘rockin’ good night out then go and see Rock of Ages, you won’t be disappointed.
Runs until the 16th August 2014| Photo:Manuel Harlan