Thursday, July 25

Rock of Ages – New Mills Art Theatre

As NK Theatre Arts still do not currently have access to their home venue at the Romiley Forum, this production was staged at the 500-seat capacity New Mills Art Theatre, which is a considerable distance from their usual venue, but thanks go to them for accommodating this performance directed by Paul Wilson.

Before the show even started many cast members took to the stage, which created a superb atmosphere at the “Bourbon Club” in downtown LA. The show was enhanced by the use of live musicians who were ably directed by Ceri Graves.

All the action took place in the club, and it was non-stop right from the word go, with superb choreography from Dawn Wrigley and Rivkah Kneen which contributed hugely to the show’s success. One classic song after another, mainly originating from 80’s American rock bands, with many similarities music wise to that other musical based around music from a similar era, by that I’m alluding to “Footloose”, which NK have also produced on a number of occasions in recent years.

Photos: Derek Stuart-Cole

The storyline (which was almost incidental) centred around new girl in town Sherrie Christian who hopes to make it as an actress but is taken on at the club as a waitress. A pair of (German) property developers arrive on the scene and attempt to change the lifestyle of the Strip, which would involve demolishing the Bourbon Club, which of course is not well received. Alongside lots of interchangeable relationships throughout the course of the show, the outcome of course is that the club continues as a thriving venue for rock and roll and as is to be expected everybody lives happily ever after.

As I’ve mentioned, the storyline is secondary to the star of the show, which is the music. It’s difficult to highlight individual performances as all the main singers were excellent but I was particularly impressed with Alison Baines as what I would deem the star vocalist of the show Sherrie. Acting credits must go to Todd Bennett as Franz Klinemann who had the audience in stiches every time he opened his mouth when he was on stage and got to deliver the classic line in the whole show, “I’m not gay, I’m just German”! a real tour-de-force performance.

Just when you thought it was all over, with a rousing full company performance of “Don’t stop believing”, when the actual performance had ended, there was a further treat in store for the audience when various younger members of the cast who had played the parts of groupies, strippers, waitresses and general rock chicks had the opportunity to highlight their individual vocal talents in a medley of hit songs from the 80’s and in many ways this was the best part of the evening. Starting with the highly talented Megan Voss who was joined by the likes of Emily Roberts, Amy Earith, Jenny Arundale and numerous others who I apologise for not naming individually but they can all take credit for their contributions for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

The show continues until this Saturday 13th April and limited tickets are still available for all upcoming performances, so if you want an evening of quality musical entertainment, head down to New Mills and snap up a ticket before they all go.

Reviewer: David S Clarke                      

Reviewed: 10th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.