ARE you ready to rock? That’s the cry at the top of this raunchy rock panto as the countdown begins; 10... 9... 8...
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THE PLAYHOUSE, Greenside Place
By the time it reaches one and Feel The Noize blasts out, however, it’s the audience that’s ready to get ‘wild, wild, wild’ more so than the cast, with the exception of Narrator Lonny, played by Lucas Rush, who single-handedly carries the first act.
The story, what there is, can best be described as wafer thin; a slight tale of love, dreams and fighting for what you believe in allows for a romp through some of the best rock anthems of an era.
Set in and around The Bourbon Room on the Sunset Strip in the 80s, from the off Rock of Ages is fast and furious.
Camp, curious and crammed full of power ballads such as We Built This City, We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Want To Know What Love Is, the first act still struggles to find its feet, despite a cast of killer voices.
Thankfully, Act Two couldn’t be more different.
Blatant and brash, the company suddenly embrace the irony and find liberation in the politically incorrect madness involved.
Like all the best pantos, Rock of Ages is also gloriously self-aware and with a nice level of deconstruction.
Playing the audience with outrageous gay abandon, Rush is the star of the night.
He is ably supported by ex-Corrie favourite Kevin Kennedy as club owner Dennis - the pair team up for a show-stopping rendition of I Can’t Fight This Feeling.
Elsewhere, Luke Walsh as Drew and Jodie Steele as Sherrie, the ill-fated lovers, rock their songs, while Erin Bell and Zoe Birkett as Regina and Justice respectively, are stand outs.
Bell proves a warm, likeable love interest for Andrew Carthy’s sexually confused and simply unbelievable Franz, while Birkett brings quiet dignity to her maternal strip-club owner.
As notorious superstar rocker Stacee Jaxx, Antony Costa is suitably sleazy.
With liberal amounts of flesh on display throughout, and some quirky sight gags, this production is never subtle, but then 80’s rock never was, was it?
Beyond parody, Act Two captures the theatre of the genre and, like all good pantos, there’s a big sing-a-long to bring the curtain down.
You can really go wrong with Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, which get the audience on their feet and the cast a hard won standing ovation.
Run ends Saturday 4 May