>You’ve GOT to be a fan of 80s rock music if you’re here, haven’t you? Of COURSE you are!
The musical Rock of Ages is currently showing at The Opera House Manchester and tells the story of two people falling in love – Drew (Luke Walsh) and Sherrie (Rhiannon Chesterman). Drew works at a nightclub called The Bourbon Room where he cleans and practises song writing. One night he meets Sherrie and asks Dennis, the owner of The Bourbon Room, if she can work there.
The Bourbon Room owner Dennis (Ross Dawes), is struggling to keep his club from from being demolished but takes on Sherrie as a host, where she and Drew start to fall for each other.
A love rival arrives on the scene and comes between Drew and Sherrie, in the form of loathsome ladies-man Stacee Jaxx. In the performance we went to watch the love rival character of Stacee Jaxx was played by Kevin Clifton off of Strictly on the telly.
The other main character, and by far the most enjoyable one in my opinion, was Lonny (Joe Gash) who played the parts of Bourbon Room employee and The Narrator brilliantly. Lonny delivered the perfect mix of one liners, clever quips and perfectly improvised comments. His character is meant to be over the top and flamboyant and Lonny achieves this perfectly.
There are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments in Rock of Ages, the most memorable of which for me was where Lonny and Dennis perform an acrobatic cartwheel scene. It needs to be seen to be understood why this is so good, but the aftermath of it was something genuinely hysterical and lead to a nice moment or two of improvisation.
Another funny touch was that all the transport used in Rock of Ages is a miniature version, so when Drew and Cherrie are heading out for a picnic the bike they are both sat on is child-sized. It certainly made the audience laugh a lot!
All the scenes are played out through the medium of 80s rock songs performed by a live band, so if you have ANY appreciation for 80s rock then this is the musical for you. Renditions of We Built This City and Here I Go Again went down a storm with the crowd, whereas ballads More Than Words and Every Rose Has It’s Thorn were sang beautifully.
Overall the evening was great, with the cast definitely finding their confidence more in the second half. There were certainly some giggles in the first half along with a few perfectly performed songs, but the second half was a lot stronger both in comedy and in musical performance.
Rock Of Ages is at the Opera House Manchester until Saturday 9th October.
Get tickets – https://www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk/tour/