Rock of Ages: A Review

“I wanna rock!”

Danielle Hope as Sherrie, Courtesy of Rock of Ages UK Tour (2018)

Nick Winston (director and choreographer) and Ethan Popp, (arrangements and orchestrations) bring Chris D’Arienzo‘s book Rock of Ages to life in a spectacular musical at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Walking into the theatre, and seeing many people dressed up in 80s glam, rock ‘n’ roll outfits, it was a known fact that the night was going to be epic. The show was electric, transporting the theatre-goers to an 80s rock concert where all the greatest hits were playing for one night only – a show you do not want to miss!

Since 2009, this musical has had a continuously successful run on Broadway, featuring classic 80s rock hits such as We Built This City (Starship), Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi), Here I Go Again (Whitesnake), Anyway You Want It (Journey), and Don’t Stop Believing (Journey), which were performed by a loud and proud live band. Even after almost 2,500 performances across six years, there was no doubt that this was a unique, legendary experience.

At the centre of this hilarious musical comedy is an LA love story between two people who are fighting to achieve their dreams – Sherrie (Danielle Hope) aspiring to be an actress and Drew (Luke Walsh) striving to be the next rock ‘n’ roll star. They meet outside of the rock club, The Bourbon Room, and the struggles of young love blossom across the 2-hour show as they are tested by society whilst overcoming obstacles that are preventing them from achieving their dreams.

Danielle Hope as Sherrie

Danielle Hope as Sherrie, Courtesy of Rock Of Ages UK Touring Company (2018)

Danielle Hope (BBC One’s Over the Rainbow, Webber’s The Wizard of Oz, Eponine in West End’s Les Misérables) and Luke Walsh (Galileo in We Will Rock You, Dick in Dick Whittington) were the perfect leads. Walsh was charming and portrayed Drew to be ambitious and sensitive with amazing solos such as ‘I Wanna Rock’, and Hope portrayed Sherrie’s character arc brilliantly, especially when she struggled to overcome her naivety in the song Harden My Heart’ and when she took back revenge against rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Sam Ferriday) in ‘Hate Myself for Lovin’ You/Heat of the Moment.

Other noticeable cast members were Zoe Birkett as soul singer, Justice. She owns the gentleman’s club Venus and there she belts out ‘Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night’; this motherly character, who has an all-knowing outlook on life, is a notable addition to the ensemble. Despite everyone’s immense talent, the real stand-out star was Lucas Rush as Lonny, the narrator of the musical who provided the perfect comedic relief and broke the fourth wall, allowing the audience to truly feel part of the action. The audience knew, as soon as he burst onto the stage with his mesmerising rendition of Feel the Noize’, that he was going to steal the show.

Lucas Rush as Lonny, Danielle Hope as Sherrie, Luke Walsh as Drew, Courtesy of Rock of Ages UK Tour (2018)

Rock of Ages is a musical everyone must see in their lifetime, as we learn through the characters and the music that anything is possible, as long as you don’t stop believing.

The musical is playing until Saturday 27th October at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, tickets linked below:

https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/rock-of-ages/liverpool-empire/

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