ROCK OF AGES

ROCK OF AGES REVIEW

COME ON FEEL THE NOIZE!

Last night (Tuesday), I was invited along to the Edinburgh Playhouse to the opening night of the Rock of Ages.  

Rock of Ages is a loud, bright, sexy, 80s-themed musical experience. Set in 1987-ish in LA, we were witness to a familiar story: an aspiring rockstar, a small-town girl who dreams of making it big in Hollywood, a narcissistic rockstar, property developer baddies that are threatening to demolish the local establishment…you know the score.

Superb casting came in form of Sam Turrell as aspiring rockstar Drew; Gabriella Williams as budding actress Sherri; X Factor winner Matt Terry as egotistical rocker Stacee Jaxx; Curly Watts from Coronation Street, Kevin Kennedy, as The Bourbon Room owner, Dennis Dupree; Kellie Rhianne as Gentleman’s Club owner, Justice; and Vas Constanti and Andrew Carthy smashed it as the comic book German baddies, Hertz and Franz Klinemann.

It was great to see each member of the ensemble get their time in the spotlight too. They demonstrated pitch-perfect singing and performed the high-octane choreography effortlessly, alongside the uber talented live and, at times, somewhat disguised band.

The musical was jam-packed with hilarity. Vicki Manser played Regina (pronounced Re-j-ina) had the audience chuckling as she cartwheeled, in a rainbow leotard, showing off her overgrown lady garden, and the steamy scenes, filled with humour of a naughty nature, made the show a must-see for adult eyes only.

But the standout performance came from the narrator, the fourth wall breaker, Lonny (Joe Gash). Every time he graced the stage, he had the audience erupt in laughter from his sarcasm and innuendos. And he knew it! One of my favourite moments came at the end of Act One when Lonny was hunched over, clutching his back in pain, only for him to proudly exclaim that he was “carrying the weight of the show on his back!” Queue another fit of the giggles.

A witful storyteller, Gash controlled the show. A natural comedian and entertainer, he ensured that the audience joined in with the show. He singled out a member of the audience who subsequently became the butt of many jokes, even had their name written onto a sign that he carried across the stage. #IHeartSandra. This was a hugely entertaining and super creative way in getting the audience involved in the show.

Nonetheless, the pièce de résistance was the music, with 80s belters including “We Built This City”, “Dead or Alive”, “The Final Countdown”, and “Don’t Stop Believin’”, one after the other rolling out like a classic rock jukebox.

Rock of Ages is an exhilarating, foot-stomping, air-punching extravaganza that will have you belting out the tunes for days to come.

- Reviewed by Radio Saltire’s Jenna Cockburn 11th May 2022.