herald

Friday 14 December 2018

Big-haired BROADWAY hit is a daft delight

ROCK OF AGES

Do you know how powerful rock 'n' roll was in the 1980s? Very powerful. So powerful, in fact, that those under its spell on Hollywood's vibrant Sunset Strip had the ability to see into the future. How else do you explain young Sherrie - an aspiring actress serving drinks at the Bourbon Room - dipping into an Extreme number from 1991? Isn't Rock of Ages supposed to be set in 1987?

We're being pernickety. The hugely successful Broadway hit is so utterly over-the-top, we shouldn't bother with the minor details. Christ, it's so bloody sure of itself as one of those genre-bending, revolutionary stage musicals that it not only breaks the fourth wall, it also acknowledges the fact that its colourful cast members are reading from a script. Rock on! No, seriously, well played.

Excessive Maybe I'm drunk on the tunes (there are more than 30 of them), but this brash, loud and hilariously excessive jukebox workout is actually kinda fun too.

It's offensive in so many ways, perhaps (too many penis jokes and bad wigs), but hey, it's a rock musical featuring a live band and songs courtesy of Journey, Bon Jovi, Europe and Whitesnake. What do you expect?

It probably helps that everyone involved has a blast with the material, not least Lonny, the narrator (Stephen Rahman-Hughes).

Essentially a story of two would-be lovers (Drew and Sherrie) desperate to make it big in the city of angels despite numerous setbacks, Rock of Ages is both parody and celebration, ridiculous and inspired, tacky and glamorous. It's also way too long, but at least it's better than the film. Not that that would be difficult, mind.

Running until Saturday

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