Rock of Ages really did get the audience at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre rocking out last night with a well-deserved standing ovation and nothing short of dancing in the aisles. This high-energy juke-box musical relies heavily on the clever way the songs, by such legends as Journey, Bon Jovi and Europe, are intertwined with the basic but hilarious plotline but why not?! Rock of Ages doesn’t take itself too seriously but delights the audience with random jokes, physical comedy and enough high-octane dance moves to exhaust even the audience sitting in their seats.
Danielle Hope (Sherrie) and Luke Walsh (Drew) really do shine in the lead roles. Danielle’s stage presence and pure yet strong vocals are ideal for the innocent Kansas girl turned stripper and Luke plays out many a young boy’s dream of becoming a rock star. His vocal dexterity and skill seem to know no bounds and he belted out some amazing performances worthy of a stadium performance.
Every member of the cast deserves a special mention for keeping the energy, comedy and pure spectacle up throughout the performance! However, Kevin Kennedy (Dennis) gave an impressive performance and his relationship on stage with Lucas Rush as Lonny gave us comedy, pathos and a truly believable blossoming relationship. Lucas gave an outstanding performance as “narrator” of the proceedings, involving the audience to hilarious effect.
A vocal highlight of the show came from Zoe Birkett as Justice, the owner of the local “gentlemen’s club”. Such a strong and powerful voice and yet, at times, held the audience in the palm of her hand in some really tender moments.
Politically correct Rock of Ages is not. What with caricatured German businessmen goose-stepping around the stage and simulated-sex on stage, there were moments of near to the knuckle humour but the audience last night lapped this up, entering into the whole racy nature of the production.
The numerous rock songs were ably accompanied by an amazing band, who were on the button at all times, led by Musical Director Barny Ashworth. Unfortunately, there were moments of balance issues, mainly in dialogue sections over incidental music, but this was only on occasion and did not detract from my enjoyment.
The set was extremely impressive and the projection only served to enhance the slick changes of set and the audience’s understanding of where we were at any given time. Fabulous lighting effects (Ben Cracknell) added interest and effect to the already pacey production resulting in a real spectacle.
A fast-paced, energetic production which every single person should be proud of, not least Director Nick Winston who used the stage fantastically well with a clear vision and attention to detail.
Rock of Ages runs at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 17th November 2018.
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