This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Rock of Ages at the invite of Wolverhampton Grand.
Review: Rock of Ages at Wolverhampton Grand
Directed by Nick Winston, book by Chris D’Arienzo
Get ready to rock as the West End and Broadway smash-hit musical Rock of Ages returns to the Wolverhampton Grand stage on its farewell tour.
A jukebox musical set in the Bourbon Room rock club on LA’s Sunset Strip in the 1980s, we meet narrator Lonny (Tim Oxbrow) who breaks the fourth wall and acts as a guide to the multiple sub-plots that develop throughout. Bartender Drew (Sam Turrell) who has dreams of becoming a rock star meets sweet and naive Sherrie (Gabriella Willams), a wannabe movie star from Kansas. Bourbon Room owner Dennis Dupree (Kevin Kennedy) is trying to stop the demolition of his building by German property developers Hertz Klinemann (Vas Constanti) and his son Franz (David Breeds). The city mayor (Adam Strong) is taking bribes to replace the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of the strip with high-rise apartments and when his assistant Regina objects, she is fired and makes it her mission to stop them. Additionally, we meet rock star Stacee Jaxx (Cameron Sharp) – lead singer of Arsenal – and Justice (Jenny Fitzpatrick), the owner of the Venus Room Gentleman’s Club.
This is the fourth time I have seen the show and I am yet to be disappointed. The vocals are stellar across the entire cast and ensemble (Jenny Fitzpatrick once again stealing the show despite having some of the least time on stage), despite the fact that there appeared to be a few issues with sound and timing in a few instances. There are endless moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, delivered expertly by Tim Oxbrow and Kevin Kennedy. Indeed, at one point both actors were having so much fun (while clearly improvising) that they laughed so hard they temporarily couldn’t finish the end of their duet. Hilarious.
The cast are accompanied by an outstanding band – Liam Holmes (musical director / keyboards), Liam Stevenson (guitar), Alex Ward (guitar), Elliot Mason (bass) and Steve Hynes (drums) – many of whom are on stage for the entirety of the show, some even within a few lines of dialogue of their own.
The main set – the interior of the Bourbon Room – is simple but cleverly designed, with the use of props and an overhead screen to highlight scene changes.
The plot – similarly to many jukebox musicals – is a little thin, it is the soundtrack that really brings the whole show together. Featuring classic 80s anthems including We Built This City, The Final Countdown, I Want to Know What Love Is and Don’t Stop Believing, Rock of Ages remains one of my favourite shows.
It’s fun, hilarious and an enormously enjoyable night out. Rock of Ages is currently on tour until 24th June 2023, find out more here: rockofagesmusical.co.uk. Discover what is coming up at Wolverhampton Grand here: grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on.