Ah! It’s good to step out and breathe recent once more, isn’t it? With the return to lifetime of London’s theatres, Rock of Ages has bounded again onto the stage.
As an award-winning and iconic musical, hopes have been excessive for this new UK tour, which leaves the New Wimbledon Theatre on the 25th of September. Filled with smash-hits from the ’80s, there’s little doubt that fists shall be pumping unironically within the air because the viewers is handled to the music blasting out of The Bourbon Room, the murky music venue set on the coronary heart of the present.
Joe Gash (Strictly Come Dancing), takes the narrator’s half, Lonny, propelling us via a journey of Hollywood goals and the exhausting hustle of these within the trade. Joe may be very personable and one of many highlights of the present. With an enthralling grin and smouldering eyes, he’s laborious to not love.
Sadly, the identical can’t be mentioned for the present generally. It’s filled with nice expertise who all play their roles admirably, however an issue lurks beneath this better-than-some jukebox musical.
Rhiannon Chesterman performs Sherrie, the small-town wanna-be who goals of Hollywood. She encounters the good-looking Drew (Luke Walsh) at The Bourbon Room and goes on to spend the rest of the present in a cat-and-mouse sport of attempting to handle their emotions and their careers, all whereas belting out a variety of unbelievable romantic duets.
If all that was wanted to fulfill the viewers was the facility of the singing, then this present can have a prime ranking proper now. The issue that raises its head all through the present is sexism. Rock of Ages first hit the stage in 2009, and what might need been thought-about tongue-in-cheek at the moment has not aged effectively.
Take, for instance, Sherrie utilizing the facility of bending over to acquire a job on the bar, or the vast majority of the dancers spending most of their time carrying not that a lot.
Sherrie and Drew are very one-dimensional creatures, and the performers wrestle to convey any added depth to their characters via no fault of their very own. That mentioned, the honesty of Drew needing to carry down side-hustles (totally different in every half) to make ends meet appears solely too actual, maybe now extra so than ever within the trendy gig financial system.
Kevin Clifton, one other Strictly Come Dancing star, performs Stacee Jaxx, a rock god. There are many energetic dance strikes to please the followers, however the scenes between Stacee and Sherrie push the boundaries effectively previous “family-friendly.” Stacee tells ladies to f**ok off or shut up whereas slamming doorways within the faces of others.
In trendy occasions it is rather simple to be important of a present and its portrayal of girls, however the reality of the matter is that in Rock of Ages, the ladies are there as objects to be loved, and their elements undergo as a consequence. Undoubtedly that was part of the 80s. However with 18 months off, courtesy of Covid, the present might have been tweaked for audiences within the 2020s. Doing so might have introduced this behaviour beneath the microscope and examined it. As an alternative, it’s simply a part of the present.
It’s not the solid’s fault, nor can we criticise the staging or music selections. The performances from the rest of the solid are good, with a memorable dance quantity between property builders Franz (Andrew Carthy) and Hetz (Vas Constani), with eco-warrior Regina (Gabriella Williams). A brief and candy efficiency by Jenny Fitzpatrick, taking part in Justice definitely left us wishing she had extra traces.
There’ll all the time be an viewers for a present filled with power, daring jokes, and a few pretty moments. Questionable sexism apart, there have been loads of ladies within the viewers having a whale of a time, however we do have to wonder if, identical to us, might the present profit from a breath of recent air?
E book your tickets now for the Rock of Ages 2021 and 2022 UK tour.