Now seemingly a York Grand Opera house staple, Rock of Ages returned this week for it’s fourth run in eight years. It’s been over 6 years since we say the production up in Edinburgh, and this direction and staging was raunchier, punchier and funnier than ever.
For those that haven’t seen the movie, expertly produced and with actors including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, nor seen any of the previous theatre runs over the past 15 years, where have you been? Rock of Ages is a fun-filled night of classic rock tunes, performed to the story of the demise of Stacee Jaxx (Cameron Sharp).
Take yourself to Los Angeles in the mid-80s; picture sequins, denim, bandanas and epic-rock tunes and you’re not far off the vibe on stage during Rock of Ages. This production is as closely cast to the movie edition than any Rock of Ages show I’ve seen before, with Cameron Sharp notably shorter than Jaxx’s of musicals gone by (a nod to Tom Cruise), Dennis Dupree (Kevin Kennedy), the owner of The Bourbon Club, very similar in style to Alec Baldwin, and Lonny (Joe Gash) who may as well have been a Russell Brand look-a-like.
The show is full-fronted, lively, and with tracks including Cum on Feel the Noize, We Built This City and Here I Go Again taking centre stage, you’re hard pressed to not want to get up, clap and sing along to the 25 strong setlist of classics. Is it silly? Yes. Is it ridiculously smooth? Yes. It’s a perfect musical from start to finish, even if it began with a choral chant of “I say balls you say sack” (or something like that). Is it deep and meaningful? No. But that’s not what you go to Rock of Ages for. It’s a release from the world we’re living in right now. It’s a laugh. It’s chaotic, raucous and you wouldn’t want this show any other way.
Themes of sex, drugs, alcohol, money and love all dominate the show. It’s a really bloody great show; the casting superb, the audience participation often funnier than the show itself, I’m still reeling and I’d go watch it again tonight if I could. I had a smile on my face from the first minute and it didn’t leave until hours after.
Go and see Rock of Ages if you can. It’ll be the time of your live.