Rock of Ages

Regent Theatre

Ipswich

 

The classic story of a country girl Sherrie (Jodie Steele) moving to the big city with dreams of becoming an actress and a boy Drew (Luke Walsh) moving to the big city with dreams of becoming a rock star….and they meet. With the back drop of a music bar run by an old rocker Dennis (Kevin Kennedy) on the LA strip, which is in turn about to be turned over by German property developers. Add in another intertwined storyline of a major rock band, and a ladies man lead singer Stacee Jax (Kevin Clifton), playing their last gig at the music bar before splitting.

Can they save the day? Do they fall in love? Are they going to make it? A predictable storyline with the ups and downs of young dreams and young love – this is a comedy rock musical set in the mid 80s with big hair, tiny skirts, G strings and a strip club – it’s not a stage thriller therefore we’re not too worried about the story.

We have a wonderfully funny camp narrator Lonny (Lucas Rush) helping us along with the storyline, just in case someone misses it, regardless, he adds to the comedy value perfectly and would be missed if he were not there.

There is plenty of flesh on stage as there are scenes within the Gentleman’s club but it’s sexy not sleazy and don’t forget it is set in an era where looking at women’s bottoms didn’t get your eyes gauged out by some PC correct vigilantes. Don’t go if you are offended by fit women’s bottoms, or the phrase ‘I have an enormous penis’.

A rock musical of course needs to have real musicians on stage, which there were and we enjoyed. With performances of some great 80s rock tracks from Def Leopard, WhiteSnake, Journey, Bon Jovi, Foreigner… some words have been adapted to fit the show but in the main they are there for the audience to sing along to.

There were a few scenes I didn’t quite understand, whether it was the sound or just a random filler scene, however it didn’t make any difference for my enjoyment levels. There were some very clever 80s references and I wonder if the audience got them all as some were very subtle.

The actors, the singers, dancers and musicians were all highly talented – I honestly cannot fault them. I would love to be part of the touring group as they all looked as though they were having a brilliant time. Overall it did miss something as I didn’t connect completely with it as I thought I would. With a big cheer at the end of the first half from the audience, it was quite possibly just me.

There were a couple of awkward moments as they didn’t quite get away with take the-micky-out of the sexism PC shenanigans that go on today, wrapping it up as part of the 80s scene doesn’t make it appropriate. However all was forgiven as Lucas stole the show with his naturally funny bones and would have been a very different show if he wasn’t’ in it, and Justice (Zoe Birkett) stole the prize for the biggest hair and the biggest voice.

It delivered on everything you’d expect from a cheesy, eighties comedy rock musical, with a few surprises. Nearly everyone of a certain age will enjoy this and have a cracking night out, although a younger audience may not quite believe what they are witnessing. You will end up standing, clapping and dancing at the end.

Rock of Ages plays at Ipswich Regent until Saturday 9th March.  Click here for tickets.