Review: Rock Of Ages, Grand Opera House, York

Rock Of Ages

Rock Of Ages

First published in Theatre by

IF you saw the Rod Stewart musical Tonight's The Night, then tonight's the night for another night not unlike the other night, except that this one has songs from the days of Eighties poodle rock.

We Built This City, Here I Go Again, The Final Countdown, Don't Stop Believin'; you know the type; American AOR radio hits in priapic overdrive.

The demigod of that era, Whitesnake's David Coverdale, introduces the show in a teasing recorded voiceover that sets the tone for the tongue-in-cheek tale of the decline and fall of one Stacee Jaxx, who is quitting his band Arsenal to go solo.

Jaxx is saying goodbye with one last basement gig at the Bourbon Room, a Los Angeles joint on Sunset Strip under threat from a German developer.

Chris D'Arienso's Broadway jukebox musical accommodates more than Stacee's story, however. Stephen Rahman-Hughes's Lonny, the narrator/"dramatic conjuror", guides the audience and cast alike as a cross between Mephistopheles and Puck. Introducing characters and breaking down the fourth wall, he even flicks through the programme to discuss Noel Sullivan's biography with him. "You're Welsh; you have short hair in your picture," he says.

Sullivan, at this point, has long hair and an American accent, playing the lead role of wannabe rock star/songwriter Drew/Wolfgang, wrapped up in a love story with Cordelia Farnworth's Sherie Christian, an "actress" moved to LA to chase the Hollywood dream, but who ends up in a cubicle with Stacee and a job as a stripper. Sullivan is terrific; personable, humorous and he can sing anything. Farnworth does well too as the naive girl with the hard exterior and soft centre.

Ben Richards was ill on press night, replaced by Stephen Rolley as Stacee, but has since returned with his all-important stage charisma. Don't take this frankly daft musical seriously, and you will enjoy it in the manner of a This Is Spinal Tap.

Rock Of Ages, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or atgtickets.com/york

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