Rock Of Ages, Edinburgh Playhouse: On a mission to entertain

The word ‘bonkers’ spun round my head repeatedly as Rock Of Ages hit the stage at the Playhouse.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 2:43 pm

It had the atmosphere of a summer panto at times, flirted close to parodying musical theatre, but with tongue firmly lodged in cheek - sometimes someone else’s cheek too - the cast served up a show which set out with one simple aim; to entertain.

On that basis, mission accomplished.

They threw the kitchen sink at this show and had a blast, and that clearly transmitted its way right round the theatre as they served up an 80s-tastic show which harked back to the days when hair was long and guitar solos even longer.

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Rock Of Ages Musical (Pic: Richard Davenport)

If you thought the film was daft, well you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Adopting the mantra of rock band Poison’s single Nothing But A Good Time - which formed part of the opening scene - Rock Of Ages kicked up some dust.

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It was fun, it was daft, it was borderline slapstick at times, and it was also clunky with some sound issues here and there and a few songs maybe not landing with the wow factor the original versions intended.

Rock Of Ages Musical (Pic: Richard Davenport)

But once you get into its vibe and go with the flow, it makes sense in the messiest rock ‘n’ roll kinda way - and when your soundtrack consists of music from the likes of Whitesnake, Foreigner and Pat Benatar, is there any other way?

So, kudos to Joe Gash as Lonny the narrator who spoke direct to the audience, ad libbed, pirouetted around the stage like a court jester, and gave it much of its energy as the love story of Drew (Sam Turrell) and Sherrie (Gabriella Williams) wrapped itself around the bid to save the city’s legendary rock club run by Kevin Kennedy, making his return to the show on press night, and looking very completely at home in his stoner outfit too!

Characters were all larger than life - from the German developers who ticked every stereotype in the box and still got away with it thanks to the performances and comedy of Vas Constanti and Andrew Carthy, to rock god Stacee Jaxx, played by XFactor winner Matt Terry.

Rock Of Ages promises nothing more than a good time, and that’s exactly what it delivers.

A rating? Two stars would be just churlish, and three feels slightly mean given the sheer enthusiasm on stage, but I’m not sure it quite hits the four-star benchmark. Split the difference and call it 3.5

The show’s entire ethos was perhaps captured in the song playing over the PA as we headed out of the theatre - Extreme’s If You Don't Like What You See Here Get The Funk Out.

Rock ‘n’ roll was never meant to be sedate or polite and this show upholds that fine tradition.

For those about to rock on stage, we salute you.

Rock Of Ages, Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday. Tickets: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/rock-of-ages/edinburgh-playhouse/