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Review Rock of Ages Opera House Manchester

the cast of rock of ages on the stage
26 Sep 2021

Rock of Ages has arrived in Manchester this week and we were invited along to check it. Read our review here. 

The 80’s inspired musical, Rock of Ages, blasted into Manchester as part of its nation-wide tour this week. We headed to Manchester Opera House to experience the guitars, glamour and impressively huge 80’s hair for ourselves. Read on to find out what we thought. 

Rock of Ages skillfully combines romance and nostalgia with some of the best and most beloved rock anthems of the 80’s. The hits include: Starship’s ‘We Built this City,’ Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and Foreigner’s ‘I Wanna Know What Love is.’ In addition to these uplifting sing-a-long classics, the production also boasts an impressive cast, which includes, among others, Strictly professional dancer and winner, Kevin Clifton. Clifton proves, without any doubt, that he is a triple threat; adding singing and acting to his impressive resume of skills. 

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The musical centres around a young, aspiring actress Sherrie (Rhiannon Chesterman) who has left the comfort of her small town to seek fame and fortune in LA. Sherrie quickly finds a job at the famous rock club, The Bourbon Room, and (potentially) love with wannabe rock star Drew (Luke Walsh). Frustratingly (we were instantly invested in their love story) their relationship is blighted by a series of misunderstandings, largely caused by Drew’s egocentric love-rival Stacee Jax (Clifton). Clifton plays the self-centred, womanising lead singer fantastically and shows that he is a versatile and exciting talent. 

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Whilst the young lovers battle to overcome the obstacles which plight their relationship, their beloved club faces closure and demolition. A group of rockers pledge to keep rock and roll alive and the doors of the Bourbon Room well and truly open. A mention must go here to Gabriella Williams who plays chief protestor (Regina) with a fantastic blend of empathy and comedy. 

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We loved all of the characters in this exciting and uplifting musical but a special mention must go to Joe Gash who plays Lonny-the Bourbon Room’s effervescent sound engineer and the story’s narrator. The character quite simply lit up the stage, bringing a blend of quirky comedy and shameless innuendo all wrapped up in tight drainpipe jeans and leather. The duet between Lonny and Dennis, (Ross Dawes) as they sing REO Speedwagon’s ‘Can’t Fight this Feeling’ was absolutely joyous and received one of the biggest cheers of the evening. 

The audience were encouraged to get up and dance- particularly for the finale – Don’t stop Believing, which we gladly did without much encouragement. 

The staging of this musical is fantastic. The props and costume department have done an amazing job at giving the production an authentic 80’s feel. We really felt, that for the evening, we had stepped back in time. The hits were played loud and proud by a fantastic live band, who received a standing ovation at the finale.  

Rock of Ages contains some adult themes and language and therefore is recommended for 14+.

We thoroughly enjoyed the show. It felt like a real celebration, which was fitting for the return of musical theatre. We left the Opera House with huge smiles on our faces, sore hands from clapping and a strange yearning to buy fringed leather jackets. 

Rock of Ages will be showing at the Manchester Opera house until Saturday 9th October.

To purchase tickets and for more information see here. 

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Main Image credit Production Press 

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