If deep and meaningful theatre, with intense, emotional musical numbers, and a serious outlook on life is your thing, then perhaps you’d better avoid Rock Of Ages – because it’s the most fun musical ever.
It’s big, it’s bold, it’s brash, and my goodness, it’s quite possibly the most fun you could ever have in a theatre.
This reviewer’s musical tastes vary on the pop side of things – I dance to disco ‘cos I don’t like rock – but this is one non-stop laugh, from start to finish, with a great selection of songs.
The fourth wall is broken down almost straight away, as we are introduced to Lonny. Lucas Rush is superb in the part – he’s our narrator, who takes us through the production from start to finish, interacting directly with an audience member throughout the show (hello Leona!), with a constant knowing wink at the tropes of musicals, with happy endings, big musical numbers and jazz hands. Lucas is a star on the rise.
So what’s it all about? Girl leaves home, girl meets boy in rock club, girl wants to be an actress, boy wants to be a rock star, boy and girl go on date and are just friends, girl gets ‘friendly’ with rock star, rock club is due to be demolish, boy and girl fall out, girl gets sacked, girl works in strip club… Yes, pretty much your standard musical fayre!
Our young lovers are Sherrie (Jodie Steele) and Drew (Luke Walsh), who have sensational voices, and are having obvious fun in their roles.
There’s far more to the cast than them, however. Former Coronation Street star Kevin Kennedy (Curly Watts) is having the time of his life as club owner Dennis (watch out for his gymnastic routine!), while Zoe Birkett as Justice, the strip club owner, also comes to the show via TV, as a former Pop Idol contestant. Her vocal display is incredible, and shows just why she went so far in the competition. A real talent, perfectly suited to the stage.
One of the headliners is Kevin Clifton, better known as a dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, and he’s having a blast as rock star Stacee Jaxx – enjoying the hedonistic excesses of the rock lifestyle. He’s far more than just a dancer, and is obviously enjoying getting the chance to be released from the sequins and sparkle of Saturday nights. Just don’t mention the llama.
Even the smaller roles are perfectly cast – Rhiannon Chesterman shines as Regina, and Andrew Carthy as the exceptionally… German… Franz was a real favourite with the audience.
Those with only a handful of lines are exceptional too. As Waitress #1, Sinead Kenny is a standout, but she proves she’s far more than just a pretty face with a superb shaking move, as she lets rip and sings with gusto.
And the songs… if you lived in the 80s and enjoyed the music, then this is pretty much the show for you. The classics are there – The Final Countdown, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, I Wanna Rock, Feel the Noize, Don’t Stop Believin’ and many, many more.
The staging is cleverly done too – and with plenty of knowing winks to the audience over the changes of scenery – with a big screen helping to convey the locations and drama. Highlights include Sherrie and Drew on the motorbike, and the gents’ toilets!
It’s a great show. It’s not high brow, nor does it ever claim to be, and with a few jokes at the expense of the film on which it’s based, it’s a sensational night out. Totally guaranteed. You’ll have a grin on your face within the first five minutes, and it won’t go away. Everyone around us was on their feet by the end – and it’s hard not to sing along with such great songs.
If I was offered a ticket to go and see it again tonight, I’d be there quicker than you can say the words I Wanna Rock. Full marks to all involved, on and off stage.
Rock of Ages is at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until Saturday, January 26.
Click HERE for tickets.