Rock Of Ages

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Rock Of Ages

Rock Of Ages - Shaftesbury Theatre, London (UK)

We don’t usually review Musicals, but as this one features many of the iconic songs from the Melodic Rock genre it would be remiss of us to ignore it. 

Firstly, the storyline is as thin as tissue paper and contrived, but they know it and actually poke fun at the fact, making it even more amusing; ultimately the show is all about, music and amusement so who cares about the plot? The cast are extremely good and certainly do justice to the material, which has been very well selected and the songs aren’t all obvious choices either. It would have been easy just to have gone with a batch of Bon Jovi numbers but they actually serve up tracks from the likes of Quarterflash, Extreme, Mr. Big, Pat Benatar alongside those from the higher profile candidates of Warrant, Poison, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Survivor and Journey (of course).

In short, there are two main storylines, the love interest featuring the characters Sherrie Christian (nicely teed up for renditions of Steve Perry’s ‘Oh Sherrie’ and Night Ranger’s ‘Sister Christian’) and Drew (a wannabe Rock Star) and a plot to redevelop Sunset Strip in LA and destroy all the bars which gave birth to many of the above bands. Thrown into the mix is a sleazy Rock Star (Stacee Jaxx), played by X Factor winner Shayne Ward, who looks and dresses uncannily like Brett Michaels (Poison). The songs are, in the main, very well arranged and performed to a high standard, notably a different take on Foreigner’s ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’, a brilliant rendition of Damn Yankees ‘High Enough’ and the closing number, Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’, but there’s not a duff song on offer. Some, to my frustration, are very short and I groaned out loud when Styx’s ‘Renegade’ only lasted as long as the first verse.

Oliver Thompsett and Amy Pemberton as Drew and Sherrie respectively are brilliant as is Simon Lipkin as Lonny, who acts as narrator. He gets all the best lines and uses facial expression to create more funny moments. His interactions with the audience were very amusing. The band of Elliott Ware (keys), Steve Holness (keys), Nick Kendall (gtrs), Nick Radcliffe (gtrs), Oliver Poschmann (bass) and Chris Maitland (Porcupine Tree) on drums are sensational and deliver the songs perfectly.

In summary, the plots are as silly as sheep, but also brilliant fun with lots of great songs and some really terrific performances. Well worth seeing as long as you are prepared to just let your hair down (if that’s possible!), suspend your disbelief and just enjoy.

Gary Marshall

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