Reviewed by Julie Hayward
It was my first visit back to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, since they’d had to close, (along with many other live entertainment venues) because of the lockdown restrictions. The Alexandra is back! Celebrating an amazing milestone, it is their 120th birthday this year and the autumn programme includes some incredible musicals, I hope to get to see as many of them as possible.
It was an easy two-minute walk from the Southside exit of Birmingham New Street Station. There was a short queue outside, where theatre staff were scanning the NHS app on phones to confirm the vaccination status of all patrons. All part of the additional measures that had been put in place to make our visit safe.
We got ourselves a drink in the Piano bar and then found our seats in the Stalls, there was an excited chatter amongst the other theatre goers who all seemed to be as happy as I was to be back anticipating the show.
The stage was set as a rock gig, with the kind of scaffold of lights you would find at a music festival, there was a video screen showing the sparkling logo of Rock of Ages, the rock song ‘Crazy crazy night’ by Kiss was playing to what looked like a full house.
The opening line ‘Are you ready to rock?’ And a countdown from 10-1, smoke erupted, and the show had begun.
We were transported to America in the late 80’s, Vegas and the Sunset Strip, home of Rock music. A sexier time of men with long hair and beautiful girls wearing very short shorts.
I had anticipated there to be an abundance of Rock Anthems and there were, from ‘Feel the noize’, ‘We built this city’ and ‘We’re not goin to take it’ to ‘The final countdown’ and ‘Don’t stop believin’. But there were softer melodies like ‘More than words’ and ‘I want to know what love is’. They were all performed brilliantly with great vocals and accompanying musicians. The main characters and supporting dancers all participated in the choreographed dance routines superbly.
What I hadn’t expected was the amount of humour throughout the evening, for me the star of the show was Joe Gash who played Lonny our narrator, he was hilarious reminding me of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack. His interaction with a member of the audience (editor’s note – name removed) grew throughout the night, to the extent she could have been part of the cast. Gabriella Williams who played Regina, pronounced ReGiNa, was also brilliant fun. In fact, all the cast were amazing singers and dancers. It was a pleasure to see Kevin Clifton as the legendary Stacee Jaxx, who can act and sing as well as he can dance, he made the role his own. Luke Walsh as Drew was great, and you couldn’t help but have a soft spot for the lovely Rhiannon Chesterman who played Sherrie.
The audience were up on their feet for the final numbers, clapping, dancing and belting out the rock anthems at the top of their voices.
Ticket cost from £13 plus £3.65 transaction fee
Rock of Ages is at The Alexandra, Birmingham Thurs 9 Sep – Sat 11 Sep 2021
for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com or call the box office on 03330096690
Alexandra Theatre Suffolk Street Queensway Birmingham B5 4DS