Rock of Ages is a cheesy jukebox musical that plays as the perfect throw back to everyone’s favourite 80s and 90s rock anthems such as “Here I Go Again”, “Dead or Alive” and “Don’t Stop Believing”.
There are several stories told throughout by fantastic narrator Lonny (played by Joe Gash), the main one being of star crossed lovers Sherrie (Gabriella Williams) and Drew (Sam Turrell) who both moved to the Sunset Strip to find fame but instead found each other however the one and only Stacee Jaxx (Matt Terry) proves to become their biggest obstacle. There is another secondary plot concerning the demolition of the Sunset Strip.
It goes without saying that this production is near perfect! The cast are all incredibly talented and perfectly cast, we all already love the music, and the show had some of the clearest audio I have heard within a touring production. To say that this musical is both a jukebox and comedy based production, it is very refined. Everything from the costumes, set and props has been carefully thought out, providing delayed and hidden jokes that may take a moment for the audience to pick up on and when they do will have them belly laughing. The stage is set up as a rock concert with scaffolding and speakers which really adds to the rock and roll energy of the performance.
This is a production that is completely aware of itself with some of the actors interacting with the audience and even poking fun at the script itself: “Did I sing the wrong verse again”, whilst the two leads are completely absorbed in the story creating a good contrast between the moments played for humour and the actual story lines.
Gash is electrifying as Lonny, he is charismatic, perfectly timed and delivers some of the best high notes within the show. It is impossible not to like this man as he never delivers a boring moment. Williams plays a stunning Sherrie, showing a true character development from a naive country gal to a level headed young woman who has to defend herself from the cruel world around her. Turell’s performance overall is just as impressive as his long notes (very very impressive) and Carthy (who plays Franz) has the audience’s hearts from the get go. We cannot of course forget Terry, Kennedy (Dennis), Manser (Regina), Constani (Hertz) and Samuel -Gray (Justice) who were all equally incredible too as well as the whole ensemble. This cast is perfection.
There’s heavy use of mature language and sex throughout so it is not suitable for young children or teenagers and it’s important to remove any ideas relating to the 2012 movie also by the same name. Whilst there are some similarities such as the plot between Sherrie and Drew, the movie does not follow all of the same plots throughout, inventing new characters to replace those of whom they have missed out. Regardless of whether you enjoyed the movie or not, the stage musical should be treat as a separate entity.
I cannot complain about this production whatsoever, it is fun, sexy and compelling with some amazing music. I would recommend this to anyone. I would even go as far as to call it flawless.
Playing until 14th May, https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/rock-of-ages/edinburgh-playhouse/
Reviewer: Beth Eltringham
Reviewed: 10th May 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★