Rock of Ages

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


When you wake up singing Every Rose has a Thorn – which is given the richest of choral orchestrations by Ethan Popp – this show Rock of Ages becomes a show to remember. It’s just one of a number of great songs from the 80s that have rightly become rock classics.

We’re in the Sunset Strip and life can be hard if you lose in the elaborate snakes and ladders game that underpins the entertainment industry.

Sherrie (Jodie Steele) has left the mid-west to find fame and fortune. Drew (Luke Walsh) has left Detroit likewise. From there on it’s classic Hollywood love story – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. There are some great scenes on the way; their picnic on the Hollywood Hills on a sweet, child-size Harley for example.

In the Bourbon Room, actress-in-waiting Sherrie meets Stacee Jaxx lead singer of Arsenal, pompous oaf and peripheral character (Strictly's Kevin Clifton – yes, him!) as sex-obsessed villain with the morals of an alley cat.

He seduces Sherrie under love-sick Drew’s nose and she loses her job at the bar. Forced to work at the sleazy Venus gentleman’s club, she realises that this is not her dream and heads for home.


Lonny played by Lucas Rush

There’s a great narrator in Lonny (Lucas Rush) constantly addressed a bemused lady in the front row (and pronounced Coventry to rhyme with dysentery) – very comical. Dennis du Pre (Kevin Kennedy) is the fading rock star bar owner faced with demolition by the two comedy German characters (Vas Constanti as property developer Hertz and Andrew Carthy as son Frantz).

It’s a very 80s show with big hair and very few clothes; Daisy Duke denim shorts were a stalwart outfit, and even Billy Bass joins in with We built this City on Rock and Roll. There were times when the confusion on stage was a bit too much as well as the volume, but the plot is wafer thin and consequently there’s not a lot to miss. Ultimately, it seemed to be about dreams and how to focus in order to achieve them.

This is a raunchy show with the contrast of the innocent love of Sherrie and Drew as a counterpoint which works really well. But, if you’re expecting Sunday School choruses and a squeaky-clean Kevin from Grimsby, this isn’t the show for you. It’s sleazy, showy and sexy. Directed by Nick Winston, Rock of Ages runs to 16-03-19.

Jane Howard


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