Reviewed by Claire Giles
Prepare to be transported back to the 1980’s. A time of sex, drugs, rock and roll, big hair, skimpy outfits, rock stars and groupies. Rock of Ages has plenty of this in abundance. The audience is promised by Lonny, the narrator that a good night will be had by all and it definitely was.
We watched the show at The Grand Theatre & Opera House in Leeds. The Grand is based in Leeds City Centre so easily accessible by car or public transport. There is plenty of payable car parking nearby. The staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Most of the action revolves around the Bourbon Room on LA’s Sunset Strip a rock and roll club that has all the necessary characters. Drew a bar man who wants to be a rock star, Sherrie a hot small-town girl waitress who wants to be an actress and Dennis an aging rocker owner. The strip including the club is due for demolition by greedy German developer Hertz. In a last-ditch attempt to save the club it is arranged for famous rock group Arsenal with lead singer Stacee Jaxx to play their final performance ever at the club. Womanizing, self-obsessed Stacee is leaving the band to go solo. Drew and Sherrie are obviously in love but is their floundering relationship doomed to fail due to mishaps and Sherries diligence with Stacee and will the club be saved.
The main emphasis though is the music and vibrant, energetic dance numbers. As we are reminded ‘We Built this City on Rock and Roll’. With 80’s songs such as Dead or Alive, I Want to Know What Love Is, The Final Countdown and Hit Me with Your Best Shot performed by the talented cast there is something for everyone to recognise and enjoy. Luke Walsh as Drew has an amazing voice and can definitely hold a note. Jodie Steele as Sherrie and former Pop Idol contestant Zoe Birkett as Justice showed off their incredible vocal talent in their performance of Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night. The live band on stage as part of the club setting just added to the performances.
Adam Strong as Lonny really was the standout performance of the evening. His portrayal of witty, flamboyant and fun-loving Lonny was outstanding. He delivered some hilarious lines and innuendo, but they were so in line with the character that you couldn’t help but love him. He had the audience laughing out loud and stole nearly every scene he was in.
The production has some quite risky, adult humour so definitely not for children.
The show ended with a big all cast musical number with the audience all up on their feet clapping and singing along. Everyone definitely went home on a high. The cast absolutely deserved the standing ovation they received and the atmosphere was electric from beginning to end.
Tickets cost from £19.50 (booking fees may apply).
Rock of Ages is at the Grand Theatre in Leeds from 29 July to 3 August 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.leedsgrandtheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 848 2700.
Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, 46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NZ | 0844 848 2700