It is the raunchiest, cheesiest, loudest musical of them all, and Rock of Ages has now come to Birmingham and is once again making the second city gasp at its sheer outrageousness.. Full of more grown men in neon and spandex than should ever be acceptable, the musical that takes a tongue in cheek look at all those 1980s rock classics opened last night at Birmingham’s The Alexandra, and made sure that the audience left the theatre singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ all the way home.
The story is fairly simple – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again, and they all live happily ever after. So far, so predictable. But add the element that it’s the girl who loses boy after she has wild toilet cubicle sex with a bona-fide rock god called Stacee Jaxx (Axl Rose surely), hilariously played to perfection by Sam Ferriday, and we start to get a twist on the story. Add in further developments of the leading man joining a New Kids on the Block Style band, and a couple of hilarious cartoon Germans trying to destroy the Sunset Strip where all the action takes place, but being foiled by the sassy Regina (Rhiannon Chesterman – perfect) and you have a raucous, fun, ball of energy that can’t fail to entertain.
The music is like a who’s who of 80s rock, with the tunes coming thick and fast. Whitesnake, Starship, Pat Benatar, Poison, REO Speedwagon and Journey are all represented. Standout tracks include Whitesnake’s ‘Here I go again’ and Posion’s ‘Every Rose has it’s thorn’ both delivered by the ensemble with passion and verve, especially by Zoe Birkett as Justice with a voice that can only be described as incredible.
One of the things that makes this such a great night is the cast’s obvious enjoyment in the show. The narrator Lonny (a standout performance from the charismatic crowd pleaser Lucas Rush) has such fun ad-libbing and connecting with the audience, whilst the young stars Luke Walsh and Danielle Hope are suitably sweet and winsome, but show a tougher edge as the musical turns darker. The already mentioned Sam Ferriday is superb as the debauched Stacee Jaxx, a raddled mixture of Dave Lee Roth and David Coverdale, wearing those skintight white pants and Axl Rose withair h aplomb and turning in a scene stealing performance. Coronation Street Legend Kevin Kennedy is also superb, showing his class as Dennis with a series of knowing one liners. His scene with Lonny when they sing the REO Speedwagon classic ‘Can’t fight this feeling’ is the funniest scene in the whole show, saying something in a show that is full of them.
Rock of Ages is the ultimate fun night out for those who never travel without their air guitar.
It runs at the The Alexandra until Saturday 17th November. For ticket information visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-