This was a laugh out loud adventure for the audience at the Grand Opera House.
Rock of Ages
Grand Opera House, York
Till April 15
£11.90 – £31.40
I felt the first half wasn’t grabbing me, until the end act which was outstanding, and can only think this is because I’ve previously seen the professional cast do the same show at this venue.
Or it could just have been first night nerves and the actors settling into their performances.
That said the second half really came to life.
Normally I find that as my favourite I choose one of the side actors to the main performers, but this show had such a talented cast who all shone.
High heels and innuendo
Rock of Ages is full of innuendo, tiny shorts, underwear, high heels, stockings and suspenders so definitely suits a more mature audience. Although I suspect most of the cast weren’t even born when the classic Eighties rock hits were first performed.
That didn’t stop them putting on a great performance.
It was great to see Conor Mellor (Drew) back on stage; I’ve seen him in quite a few performances now and wasn’t disappointed.
His voice has matured and really suited these rock classics. His duets with Lauren Sheriston (Sherrie) were lovely. She has a beautiful voice.
Exuberant and bouncy
Christopher Knight plays the narrator Lonny, his exuberant, bouncy performance has you laughing throughout, although there were times when the show went into the stalls and we missed seeing what was happening in the dress circle.
This was also an issue with the action that happened on the right of the stage on the stairs element of the set. If you were facing the stage anything on the right side was almost invisible from my side of the theatre.
There’s one scene where I could tell that the ensemble were singing on those stairs in what looked like choir robes, then the boxes either side of the stage lit up and had more cast members join in from there. That worked really well.
Crying with laughter
Richard Upton (Stacee Jaxx) had the role’s outrageousness down pat.
The drugged up arrogance overshadowed a great voice, I’d loved to hear him sing more of ‘Every rose has a thorn’, the small part he had he owned. It’s one of my favourite songs from the era, although I did like the way the cast all took part.
A shout out definitely needs to go to Benedict Tomlinson (Franz Klinemann). Normally I am not a fan of fake accents in shows, but he and Adam Tomlinson (Hertz Klinemann) made it work for me.
Benedict flounces around on stage in a very convincing exuberant performance then stuns with his reveal of his Lycra dancewear in the second half. It’s that vivid it probably needs sunglasses, but he rocks the look.
His dance routine with Alicia Roberts (Regina Koontz) had me crying with laughter. I’d like to have heard more of Adam singing as well, his role didn’t give him much opportunity, but when he did, I wanted more.
I wasn’t wowed by some of the choreography, at times it felt a little stilted to me, but the routines at the end of the first act and the second act worked brilliantly.
And I have to say the routine that ended with Jacob Husband carrying a dancer off with his hands around her waist whilst her legs were either side of his head again brought tears to my eyes. It was hilarious and very well played.
The cast were clearly enjoying the whole experience, and their enthusiasm transferred to the audience.
What’s not to like about this show. I love Eighties rock; it has a talented young cast with some knock out singing voices; Henry Bird on guitar (great to see him back on the Grand Opera House Stage), and so many laughs.
It’s a rocking good night out.