The smash-hit Rock of Ages is in town and Waterside Theatre has been turned into the Bourbon Room on Sunset Strip. Rock of Ages is the hilarious jukebox musical with over 25 classic rock anthems, including ‘Don’t Stop Believin’, ‘We Built This City’, ‘The Final Countdown’, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Can’t Fight this Feeling’ and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, played loudly by an awesome live band. If you are feeling a bit of American 80’s rock, this is the show for you.
It’s 1987-ish, and Drew works in the Bourbon room, owned by Dennis Dupree, a classic old rocker. Drew falls for Sherrie, who has just arrived in town so he talks Dennis into giving her a job. Dennis is worried for the future of the club so he invites Stacee Jaxx to play his last ever gig there. Drew wangles the support slot and gets noticed by a music producer. When Stacee plays the Bourbon room he accidentally sleeps with Sherrie and then gets her fired. If you find the story a bit convoluted, and I haven’t even mentioned the German’s yet, don’t worry as Lonny is on hand to help as our friendly narrator. He is particularly helpful at the end of act one, coming on with his book, musicals for dummies, and explaining that there is always a moment in a show when things are down, but we should still end on a big number with jazz hands.
Joe Gash is the definitive Lonny. If you needed a masterclass in how to play the role of Lonny, Joe is it. He was born to play this role. Joe is confident, sexy and brazen and I just loved him. If Frank N Furter (Rocky Horror) and Russel Brand had a baby; that’s Lonny. Joe has an amazing range and such a stage presence that he steals every scene.
Sam Turrell plays Drew. Sam may not sport long hair, but don’t let that fool you – Sam is most definitely a rocker and boy can he sing. His love interest is Sherrie played by Gabriella Williams. Gabriella makes a great Sherrie who has to harden her heart. Her voice is powerful and a good match for all the rocker voices in the show.
Kevin Kennedy plays Dennis. Kevin had me laughing at ‘Fuckin Cartwheels’ and plays Dennis with such authenticity that I really believed him to be a rocker. I don’t think I can give higher praise than that. Jenny Fitzpatrick plays Justice. I have seen Jenny in this role before and know we are in safe hands. This girl can sing! Her voice is a breath of fresh air and blew me away.
There is almost nothing I don’t love about this show. It is unexpectedly funny. And breaking the fourth wall works perfectly. Lonny interacts with the audience and there is a moment where he explains to another cast member that they are actors in a musical and this is being scripted. It’s so original. This show rocks!
The cast are all energetic and give it absolutely everything supported by some very talented musicians rocking out at the back of the stage. It is appreciated by the audience who clearly loved coming to the theatre tonight and stood to sing and dance at the end before they were meant to. Everyone had a good time.
This is a show full of denim and leather with rock n roll at its heart. It’s truly a fabulous show. So, if you wanna rock get yourself down to the Bourbon room at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury.
Rock of Ages is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 28 May 2022.