6-11 October 2014
Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
When I was asked to review Rock of Ages I was completely unsure of what to expect and a little apprehensive as my usual theatrical visits are to see much more classic musicals like Calamity Jane. This was going to be a whole new experience and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a little like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
Rock of Ages is a musical that tells a love story. It tells the story of the small town girl Sherrie Christian, played by Cordelia Farnworth, who falls in and out of love with Drew, your pretty average struggling and aspiring rock star, played by our very own Cardiffian Noel Sullivan. The story shows the many hurdles Sherrie and Drew face, from the awkwardness of the first date to the sexy distraction posed by Stacee Jaxx, played by Ben Richards, before they finally find each other and live happily ever after. The cast choice was fantastic with everyone really engaging the entire audience. Ben Richards played Jaxx as a real rock star, it was completely believable. His costumes, or lack of them, were also a definite crowd pleaser for the ladies. Many female members of the audience enjoyed admiring his physique and who knew Richards had such a good voice. It really suited the rock style music of this production. Speaking of vocal ability of our wonderful Welsh lad, Sullivan, was something to be admired and adored. In one particular scene he holds a note for an eye wateringly amount of time. The local boy did Cardiff proud. Farnworth really complimented Sullivan’s sound. She too had real talent she played the vulnerable Sherrie beautifully. You could really empathise with her at times especially when awkwardly trying to manage her first date with Drew and you could identify with the excitement she had for following her dreams. The entire cast worked hard to engage the audience in all instances however a special mention must be saved for the narrator or the magician of the show Lonny played by Stephen Rahman-Hughes. Rahman-Hughes’s comic timing had the entire audience at times roaring with laughter. He was a real cheeky element that brought that tongue in cheek humour to life. He engaged the audience and positively encouraged audience participation in certain parts of the show. Rahman-Hughes stole the show and made my evening.
The music was a real trip down memory lane with songs like ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ it took me back in time. The musicians showed fantastic talent and unlike other shows I have experienced they were a fully participating stage presence throughout the show. Although a ‘soppy love story’ the mix of the score really helps appeal to those who may not always choose musical theatre. It adds real appeal.
The story itself although a classic love story is was a little weak at times but it was incredible score and wonderfully talented cast that made it a fabulous evening’s entertainment. If this show is a Marmite one I’m definitely a lover. This is a show worth a visit if you’re looking for some tongue in cheek humour teamed with fantastic sing along classic rock anthems this is the night for you. We give Rock of Ages a fabulous 4/5.
Tickets cost from £10 to £34.50 (plus £2.95 booking fee).
Rock of Ages is at the New Theatre, Cardiff until 11 October 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 029 2087 8889.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN | 029 2087 8889