Review: Rock of Ages

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Ticket Type: Orchestra 

Viewing Angle:  Front Row and Centre. 

Price: $30 from Student Rush

Location: The Helen Hayes Theatre

Do you like 80s Rock? Do you have a sense of humour? Do you like ambiguous degrees of nudity? Then Rock of Ages is for you. It uses a basic love story and 80s hits from Whitesnake, Journey and others of the like to offer its audience entertainment based on the premise of “Broadway’s best party”. It does succeed on this prose, so long as you’re in the right mindset going in. From the moment you enter the Helen Hayes Theatre, see gratuitous posters and offered jello shots you know what you’re in for.  

Although this shown isn’t for everyone there is a lot to like about this production. All the vocal performances are spot-on and the sometimes deliberately literal choreography is tight. The stand-out performer is by Genseon Blimline (Lonny) who acts as narrator and side-kick to Adam Dannheisser (Dennis) the show chugs along with his always appearing self-referential quips that make this show work best as a pantomime.

There is a static set where the backdrop is the infamous bar known as “The Bourbon Room” with key set pieces highlighted to indicate a different location. This isn’t lazy at all though as poles descend and the bar is transformed into a strip club. 

There are all the elements of a traditional rock concert; bright lights, incredibly loud speakers and sweat/saliva showering the front row. This can be fun, but as I was sitting in the front row it can be detrimental to the experience. As Laura said “I feel like all my senses have been violated”.

Most jukebox musicals are criticized for the way story is forced to accommodate popular songs, but the scenes are progress tightly without any cringe worthy lead-ins. This production is suited for a live audience, so it’s no wonder the recent film received a poor reception from fans of the stage show. Yet you begin to understand the changes made for a film audience.

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