Grab Your Air Guitar: Rock of Ages Hits Birmingham

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.

Rock Of Ages Production Photos
©The Other Richard

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-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/

A Girlie Night In With Glimpse Opticians

Glimpse Opticians are independent eyewear experts based in arguably the most beautiful setting in Birmingham, the Great Western Arcade. Glimpse has a carefully curated selection of frames, both prescription and sunglasses,  with eyewear ranges that are entirely exclusive to Birmingham including MYKITA, Garrett Leight, Maui Jim, Anne et Valentin, Vinylize, Ørgreen, Theo and LINDBERG.

Glimpse was the setting for an exlusive, invite only, girls night in a couple of weeks ago. Joining forces with some of the other independents from the Great Western Arcade including 1847 Birmingham who provided the Veggie canapes on the night, fashion accessories from Peter Forson, hair styling from Umberto Giannini and stress relieving massages from At One Day Stay. Add in food from Anderson & Hill, delicious lemon bespoke macaroons from Miss Macaroon, and delicious gin from Edinburgh Gin, and you were all set for a stylish evening of fashion, style and pampering, with a little gin thrown in.

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If you are yet to visit Glimpse, it is a great, friendly opticians with a rang of frames that are totally covetable. The girls night in was a great excuse to try on a range of frames, the only tough part was making a decision on which ones to get for the upcoming Summer holidays. There are designs that suit every taste, from large Jackie O style frames, to animal print and patterned frames of all shapes and sizes. I have a sunglasses obsession, and have to say I felt totally spoilt by the choices available at Glimpse, loving the independent brands that I could not find anywhere else in Birmingham.                                . I had a lovely time at the Glimpse Girls Night in. If you would like to find out more about the ranges available at Glimpse, you can visit their website here.                                                 .With thanks to East Village PR for the invite.

Breakfast At The Ivy Birmingham

There are some invites that you say yes to. There are some that you politely refuse. And there are some that you receive, scream, and jump up and down shouting yes, yes, yes over and over again. An invitation to breakfast at newly opened The Ivy restaurant in Birmingham is just one of those invites. And that is where a beautiful Saturday morning took me last week.

The Ivy is one of London’s most iconic and stylish restaurants, and its Birmingham incarnation is destined to be the same. It opened last week in the former Louis Vuitton building on Temple Row and is definitely the new place to see and be seen in the second city. A mixture of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, the restaurant is absolutely stunning, a vibrant, colourful space spread over three floors, with a private dining room on the top floor.

We were treated to breakfast in the private dining room, The Archer Room, a room festooned with beautiful vintage prints and artwork that celebrates the best of Birmingham’s industry and achievements.  The room is dominated by a long table that can seat 20 people, and was laid out in exquisite style for the breakfast, complete with silver tableware and fresh flowers, all creating a bright and beautiful space.

The breakfast menu is deliciously balanced and varied, catering for those who enjoy both sweet and savoury options. The Beet It juice was deliciously refreshing, with a surprising hit of ginger giving you a great morning kick. The pastries were as soft and tasty as you would expect, I loved the chocolate twist which was just the right side of sweet and complemented the very good coffee perfectly. In terms of breakfast mains, I opted for the buttermilk pancakes (totally sweet tooth time). These proved to be a fine choice – not too sweet because of the use of yoghurt rather than cream. The sweetness was added by a succulent strawberry sauce, and the dish looked just beautiful in it;s presentation with the addition of the berries. The dish was also surprisingly filling with three decent sized pancakes.

The whole dining experience was relaxed and yet decadent, this is the perfect place for a breakfast/brunch with the girlfriends before a mornings shopping, although you may find it hard to actually leave the place, it is just so beautiful.

For bookings and more information, visit The Ivy website here.