Theatre Review - 'Rock of Ages'

Posted on: 06 October 2011 by Alexander Hay

A celebration of glam metal and bad haircuts from the 80s comes care of this frenzied jukebox musical, so do try to rock out or something

It was acceptable in the 80s...

The plot, such as it is, centres on ditzy blonde Sherrie from the Midwest who arrives in Los Angeles dreaming of Hollywood fame. She walks into the Bourbon Room, a Whisky-a-Go-Go venue on LA’s Sunset Strip and is hired by its owner Dennis Dupree an aspiring musician hoping to become the new ‘Sebastian Bach’.

As well as finding work she finds small-town boy Drew who dreams of rock n’ roll fame. But she has a fling with self-glorifying rock legend, Stacey Jaxx, much to the chagrin of Drew. There is also a subplot about a heartless German property developer’s attempts to take over the Bourbon as part of the redevelopment of the Strip.

We are initially promised an ‘evening of debauchery and decadence’ but what we get are scantily clad sexy dancers, a tired script that revels in the clichés of the rock genre and crude, raucous and, for the most part, unfunny humour. Indeed the producers have thrown everything into the show – flashing lights, energetic dance routines, a collection of rock hits and a wetter of neon lit signs to convey the atmosphere of sleaze.

The cast put a lot of oomph into their performances, most notably Natalie Andreou, sweet and sassy as our heroine, Oliver Tompsett as the singer she falls for, Dylan Turner as the outrageous pop diva, and, best of all, Justin Lee Collins as the bar owner, and help keep the spirits up.

But the main appeal of the show are the mix of 28 classic 80s tunes including Don’t Stop Believing, The Final Countdown, Cum On Feel the Noize and I Wanna Know What Love Is.

Indeed I just wish they had dispensed with the hackneyed storyline and treated us to a non-stop medley of the music of the period. That might have had me on my feet at the end!

On now at the Shaftsbury Theatre, London:

Box office: 0207 379 5399

Press: The Corner Shop PR 0207 494 3665

By Laurence Green

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Alexander Hay

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