Rock of Ages, theatre review, Grand Opera House, June 2019

Rock of Ages, Theatre review, Grand Opera House, June 22, 2109

By Conor O’Neill

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If like myself you grew up with Daniel O’Donnell (Mother), the odd loveable moments ofRoger Miller (thank you, Dad), and to my guilty disgust, my overbearing, elder sister’s love of Erasure, Aha, Madonna and all things like goats’ milk to a lactose intolerant, anaphylactic inducing stomach, then Rock Of Ages is not for you.

On the other hand, if Flying V’s, thundering P-basses, Fender Strats beyond the 12th, 14th, 16th and Van Halen’s 87.5 frets, specially made for his nimble fingers; spandex that comes in many colours, rock anthems from Whitesnake to The Final Countdown all delivered to thy ear from Marshall stacks, We Built This City, Dead Or Alive, I Can’t Stop This Feeling and the wonderfully positioned, last of the night’s songs Don’t Stop Believing.

What a long sentence, to match a long night. Two hours and 10 minutes of stage time. Add a five plus minute standing ovation, a 20 minute break and you may as add in a GnR guitar solo. We’re on Sunset Boulevard. The usual story, Sherry (Jodie Steel) small town girl hooks up with a ‘gonna be great rockstar’ Drew (Luke Walsh). Fiddling managers, style changes -hear your minds twisting, ‘from what, spandex?’ – to what?

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Forgotten his rock roots he’s, as the show progresses as the characters get older, we all know the feeling. Yep, puntastic. I used to write for the Daily Star before it went all hard Brexit.

As I drift off on non relevant tangents, the story goes, as does with all cliched ‘rags to riches’ tales. Let’s face it; we’re not here for intrinsic plots. Shakespeare this is not. Neither should it be; this is all about the mid to late 1980s, when men scenesters spent more on hairspray than their groupies. Great choreography and direction, with some 15 dancers on stage. And I have to mention the band. Just five of them, musical director, Liam Holmes, Has them whipped into such professionalism, a lick’s not drum, percussion doesn’t sit in the pocket, it nicks it. Every tune will want you to shake your rock bootie.

Characters, there’s a dozen to choose from. My two favs were Franz (Andrew Carthy) and his father Hertz (Vas Constanti). A team so Germanly queer, every utter they mutter will have you stitches needing sutures.

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Expect little high-brow navel gazing BS from this show. Just a runway of lycra, a dozen legging of stockings, and totally self indulgent big rock numbers.

Rock of Ages runs at the GOH up until Saturday, June 22, 2019. There’s tickets flying out the door. My advice book a matinee. Little bit cheaper and without the masses elbowing your asses and more importantly your glass. Matinees perform Friday at 5pm and Saturday at 2.30pm

To book yours visit http://www.goh.co.uk or ring the boxoffice on 02890 241919

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