Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Rock of Ages the Musical: Theatre Review


Rock of Ages first premiered in Los Angeles in 2006 with later productions taking place in Melbourne, Broadway, Off-Broadway and a film coming out in 2012. Rock of Ages started previews in London on 31stAugust with an opening night on 27thSeptember.The story is exactly what you would expect from an 80's musical, Boy with big dreams meets girl with big dreams, they fall in love, boy ruins the relationship, girl turns to stripping, boy regrets this, boy meets girl again, boy and girl get together and everyone lives happily ever after.
Ok, so the show is a lot better than I'm making it sound! The thing i really liked about this show is that it makes fun of itself; they pull out a programme for the show in the second act and occasionally break the fourth wall. From the audiences point of view it was fantastic, it's such a refreshing break from conventional musical theatre.
The score is made up of 80s classics including We Built This City, Here I Go Again, Final Countdown, I Can't Fight This Feeling and Don't Stop Believing. Obviously they did their best with the songs that they could use and it worked to a certain extent, if you are expecting every song to make perfect sense then don't bother seeing this show! They also used projections in the show, usually it makes me cringe when productions use projections because most of the time it's just an easy answer to a difficult situation but they used them well in this show, not taking them too seriously and using it in a comedic way.
I was a bit put off by the casting of Shane Ward and Justin Lee Collins, as were most people, but I have to say they were fantastic! Shane Ward had a great musical theatre voice and Justin Lee Collins acting was brilliant, both also had great charisma and good characterisation. Oliver Tompsett and Amy Pemberton were perfect, both having a good level of innocence but still with a great rocker voices and had immense stage presence. Simon Lipkin performed brilliantly as Lonny, his narration all throughout the show was delivered flawlessly. All these performers were supported wonderfully by Jodie Jacobs, Rachel McFarlane, Rohan Tickell and Sandy Moffat, All were brilliant and had vocals to die for. The ensembles were also very strong, with a special mention for Twinnie Lee Moore whose performance stood out.
The show was directed brilliantly by Kristin Hanggi who worked with Beowulf Boritt's set fantastically, using the unique way he designed it by having the band at the back and doors used as the entrances and exits. Kelly Devine's choreography also worked well with both the direction and set with the whole 80s feel to the show complemented perfectly by Gregory Gale's costume designs and Tom Watson's wig and hair designs.
The show was a fun show, not for people who want to see a classic piece of musical theatre but for people who want to be entertained and have a good night at the theatre! I would defiantly recommend this show to everyone.

Rating: ****

Rock of Ages is currently playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre

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