Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages
By Chris D'Arienzo. Songs by Various writers. Phoenix Ensemble. Directed by Morgan Orth. Musical Direction by Nick Ng. Choreography by Shelley Scott. October 5th - 27th, 2018.

Rock of Ages, the hit Broadway musical about true love, bad 80s music and even worse hair, has finally arrived at the Tin Shed, also known as, Phoenix Ensemble. While this may not be Shakepseare, Rock of Ages does provide for a fun night out at the theatre and plenty of great 80s tunes to sing along to.

The acting was perfection for the era and plot, with some of the characters so cheesy and caricatured your belly will hurt from the laughing. The show’s grungy, mullet ridden narrator, Lonny (Scott Johnson), is hilarious from start to finish and pulls the show together in a nice little bow along with Bourbon Room owner Dennis Dupree, played by Frog Johnson. Together, this vivacious and in love duo, create the perfect mix of comedy and chemistry. Adam Goodall is well cast in the male lead of Drew, with a killer voice for all the great 80s tunes his character sings in the show. Followed closely by Jayde Bielby, performing the lead of Sherrie Christian – a country girl turned stripper with a voice to match. Both Goodall and Bielby were cast perfectly for this show.

The other notable mention in the show goes to Stevie Mac. As rocker Stacee Jaxx, he steals all the girls’ hearts with his long curly hair and “charming” personality. Mac showed the perfect mix of comic acting and a fantastic voice that had most of the women in the audience ignoring their partners in the next seat, let me tell ya!

Some scene stealing characters include, but are not limited to, the portrayal of Regina by Jacqui Power, and Franz Klinemann, performed by Beau Wharton. Both performers had electric energy and their rendition of ‘Hit me with your best shot’ must be one of their finest moments on stage. While the story line is somewhat flimsy, the way the actors handled the text, the song changes and the mood of the show cannot go unappreciated.

Rock of Ages is a big, brash, energetic tribute to classic rock, to over-the-top ballads and fierce guitar, to the gritty glamour and rough energy of the Sunset Strip. This jukebox musical features ‘80s hits such as “We Built this City”, “I Wanna Rock” and “Don’t Stop Believin’”. Nick Ng, as Musical Director, and his five-piece band deliver non-stop precision across every genre in the show. While most songs are big and bold, the slower songs are just as perfect. With a set designed to be used and abused, every element of this show is carefully curated by Morgan Orth, who is no stranger to the Phoenix stage and her in-depth knowledge of the venue created the perfect use of space.

Mel Bobbermien

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