The 80's... the decade of power ballads and rock Gods … there was bound to be a musical about it and what is currently the 30th longest-running show on Broadway started life in Los Angeles 2006, transferred to Broadway in 2009 and West End in 2011 - Rock Of Ages is now playing cities all over the UK as part of a major tour.
The musical follows Drew (Noel Sullivan) who we meet in The Bourbon Room club, dreaming of being a rock star. He immediately falls for Sherrie (Cordelia Farnworth) who confuses his shyness as disinterest and has a fling with the vainglorious lead singer of rock band Arsenal, Stacee Jaxx (Ben Richards), it all goes wrong, it all rights itself... it's sex, drugs and rock and roll.
The plot falls, overpowered by the string of hits - it's probably for the best as it doesn't allow for too much investment in the characters, there's nothing too deep as to discover more about them or time to see them do little more than sing, but they own up to that. This isn't a musical to lose yourself in, it's two and half hours of rollocking rock!
Noel Sullivan impresses as Drew, he returns to his We Will Rock You roots here and is just as comfortable strutting, head-banging and belting out rock ballads than he was in a recent role, skipping around in showgirl tits and feathers in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. He proves to be an accomplished, versatile performer. Ben Richards is suitably sexy, seductive and everything you'd expect of a lead singer in the role of Stacee Jaxx. Rachel McFarlane as Justice Charlier is a great addition, she's like the Killer Queen of rival rock musical, strutting around in a long coat and sparkly corset - she can belt, yet perhaps the more tender Every Rose Has It's Thorn is one of the show's highlights.
Jessie May makes a great Regina, coupled with the comedic Cameron Sharp who relishes the role of camp German, Franz. They receive the best reaction with Hit Me With Your Best Shot - a surprise reveal and a long overdue rousing of the audience to whom Stephen Rahman-Hughes' emcee Lonny is a firm favourite. There's an energetic ensemble lead by dance captain Russell Smith and a whole-cast finale of Don't Stop Believin' brings the house down, the band are excellent.
It's all tongue-in-cheek, it's all cheesy but ultimately it's fun. If nothing more, Rock Of Ages is a great opportunity to just let go and rock out with an incredibly impressive West End cast. Get your air guitar, and head for New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham to rock until Saturday 17 May - book tickets here.
Cast List: Ben Richards, Noel Sullivan, Cordelia Farnworth, Daniel Fletcher, Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Rachel McFarlane, Jack Lord, Cameron Sharp, Rakesh Boury, Imogen Brooke, Abigail Climer, Tom Andrew Hargreaves, Jessie May, Stephen Rolley, Kylie Michelle Smith, Russell Smith, Chris Southgate, Charlotte Anne Steen, Tara Verloop.
Interview With Cameron Sharp
Interview With Cameron Sharp