ROCK OF AGES
Nottingham Theatre Royal
It'll come as no surprise to find out that this is one of the best musicals featuring classic rock songs, possibly ever. It will also not be a surprise that this is one very entertaining piece of theatre that will have you on your feet at the end. What may come as a surprise is the power and strength of Noel Sullivan's voice!
Noel Sullivan, I hear you scream in a rock God kind of way? Why yes! once known as part of ITV's Pop Stars manufactured band, Hearsay, who had that number 1 hit "Pure & Simple" years ago with Kym Marsh, Suzanne Shaw, Myleene Klass and Danny (the one that looked like Shrek).
Well Noel has carved out a very successful career in musical theatre and, boy can he belt out those rock tunes, and hold a note, probably longer than Bill Wither's in "Lovely Day". I, for one was very pleasantly surprised with his role as Drew, the wannabe rock singer.
Anyway, it's a love story about girl who moves to a new city (Sherrie), girl falls in love with boy (Drew), boy loses girl to sexy rock star (Stacee Jaxx) in a toilet fumble, boy rejects girl, girl turns to the dark side and becomes a stripper (aka an exotic dancer), boy rock star turns turn the dark side (well joins a boyband), boy and girl meet again by accident and then fall in love all over again! Aaaah. Oh there is another plot as well about The Bourbon Club being shut down to make way for redevelopment and the owners (Lonny and Dennis) put on a last ditch attempt to make revenue by holding the last ever performance by Stacee Jaxx, which is where we came in.
Ben Richards (Strictly Come Dancing, The Bill, Footballer's Wives, Holby City) plays rock God, Stacee, most of then time with not many clothes on, ladies, but can also expose a good pair of lungs and tonsils as well. Then again he has been doing musical theatre since he was about seven years old!
Cordelia Farnworth plays Sherrie and when she and Noel get together for the duets and mash ups, they truly melt together vocally.
Keeping the story flowing as narrator as well as working the audience is club co owner Lonny, played with some excellent comic tones by Stephen Rahman-Hughes, who, we discover has a secret crush on someone, but you'll have to see the show to find out who he reveals his love for in song! Lonny that is not Stephen.
Another brilliant stroke of excellence in the comedic casting field is Cameron Sharp, who plays Franz, the German son of the renovating boss, Hertz Klineman. Again there is one part which has the audience in stitches with Franz's revealing storyline, but I couldn't possible tell you what it is!
This is one very entertaining show with stacks of comedy, some brilliant rock songs, a live rock band on stage, brilliant lighting and an excellent sound system. Great vocals from every actor and just a wonderful feel good show, maybe not for all the family though as there are parts that may shock little eyes and ears.
"Rock Of Ages" is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 14 June 2014