Rock of Ages @ His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen - Duncan Harley Reviews


 
Fans of rock-opera unfettered by notions of either plot development or political correctness will be delighted with this cheesy as hell piece of rock n’ roll debauchery. Landing like aliens upon the Aberdeen stage, the cheap gags spewed forth amongst a feelgood pseudo-rebellious and occasionally offensive script. 

A duo of Cleese-like goose-stepping Germans vie with a bevy of gyrating strippers for supremacy as a thinly spread plot tells of unrequited love and vaunted ambition. Brassy, glitzy, brash, raunchy and ultimately inhabited by pretty much all of the seven dwarfs, the show makes a mockery of correctness.

Rock of Ages women exist in a bubble of Ann Summers lingerie while the guys generally get to leer and swill beer.

But thankfully, the musical score makes up for the disappointing dialogue and from the opening call “Are you ready to rock?” to the closing anthem Don’t Stop Believin’, at least the music makes sense. And that probably is the saving grace of Rock of Ages. That is unless you are a fan of smashed guitars – of which there are none.

A Hollywood city mayor clamps down on sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. A Sunset Strip bar is scheduled for closure, there are various scantily clad folk on stage and eventually the Bourbon Club is spared demolition for reasons which escape sensibility. Meanwhile a seemingly gay Franz AKA Andrew Carthy ‘I’m not gay I’m German’ turns hetro and opens up a sweetie shop in far-off Deutschland and Sherrie fornicates with Stacee in the men’s loo. Club owner Dennis, Kevin Kennedy, discovers that he has been dead these past three years and there is something to do with fornication with a baby lama.

Rock of Ages is of course a celebration of adolescent fantasy. Sweetheart Regina – perhaps read vagina here - convinces Franz to follow his heart.

Sherrie AKA Jodie Steele, punches washed-out rock-star Stacee Jaxx – Kevin Clifton, in the Venus Club. Regina AKA Rhiannon Chesterman, decides on self-immolation then has a change of heart but then follows through accidentally and, well, the plot barely thickens.

Number-wise, and there are around 23 of them, the show shows more promise. A band on stage pounds out the favourites and, if you are a fan of Strictly then go see Kevin Clifton as Stacee Jaxx. He won’t disappoint.

From Cum on Feel the Noise to Any Way You Want It the musical numbers power on atop the smutty script. Resplendently, Here I Go Again, Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, The Final Countdown and Sister Christian feature alongside that classic Bon Jovi Dead or Alive. Oddly, the show’s Def Leppard Rock of Ages title track remains largely absent.

This is a rip-roaringly good night of entertainment music-wise. The backing plot however celebrates that slightly sleazy him and hers Dawson/Garnet school of innuendo. Indeed, this is an odd production although in all fairness, it probably does not take itself too seriously.
But in the big scheme, the musical score and the splendid choreography are certainly worthy of attention.

Directed by Nick Winston, Rock of Ages plays at His Majesty’s Aberdeen until Sat 2 February.

Tickets from Aberdeen Performing Arts Tel: 01224- 641122

Star rating: 3 out of 5
Creatives:
Director: Nick Winston
Writer: Book by Chris D’Arienzo
Arrangements and Orchestrations: Ethan Popp
Production Manager: Phil McCandlish
Musical Director: Barney Ashworth
Choreography: Nick Winston
Production Designer: Duncan McLean
Lighting Design: Ben Cracknell
Sound Design: Ben Harrison
Casting: Jim Arnold CDJ
Set and Costume Design: Morgan Large

Duncan Harley is author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire plus the forthcoming title: The Little History of Aberdeenshire - due out in March 2019



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