Review: Rock of Ages at the Wolverhampton Grand

Book: Chris D’Arienzo

Arrangements & Orchestrations: Ethan Popp

Director & Choreographer: Nick Winston

The Wolverhampton Grand is rocking this week with the latest tour of Rock of Ages. Using a back catalogue full of 80s rock hits, this musical is great for those who may think musical theatre isn’t for them while also being as entertaining those who go the theatre regularly.

Using the skeleton structure of a musical, it features a love story, tension, conflict and indeed (spoiler alert) a happy ending which makes you feel good as you leave. It doesn’t shy away from using this structure and actually makes a light heart of it. Chris D’Arienzo writes a basic plot that’s easy to follow, paying close attention to pulling a musical’s structure to pieces right in front of your eyes while peppering in these loud and brash hits in between.

Lucas Rush plays narrator Lonny, a caricature of both a narrator and someone who’s living his rock and roll lifestyle to the full extent. Rush works the audience from the get go, with this high energy cocky character while also milking the comedy within the script as much as possible.

Luke Walsh and Jodie Steele play love interests Drew and Sherrie who have great voices and also add a great level of storytelling and character progression throughout. Walsh playing the nieve wannabe rock n roll artist while Steele playing a girl, forced out by her parents trying to find out what love means.

Andrew Carthy is a scene stealer in the role of Franz. His perfect smile, German accent and flamboyant movements are perfect for the role.  He dominates the stage with his swagger while also pulling at the heartstrings too as he seeks to move away from his pushy father to create his candy store.

Director and Choreographer Nick Winston captures the right tone of the piece. Over the top but not over the line. A ‘paint by numbers’ look at how a musical is created, while also making light heart of that process at the same time. Winston’s choreography is slick and set the stage alight with large cast numbers.

Rock of Ages is a fun uplifting story, set within some fan favourite rock songs from the 80s that get the crowd going. It’s loud and it’s proud, if you go on the ride, you’ll be sure to enjoy it. There’s plenty of chance to get involved and create the rock concert atmosphere this show needs to succeed. You can rock out while enjoying a great piece of escapism theatre that makes the light heart of many musicals that have gone before it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*A complimentary ticket was given in exchange for this review. This value for money rating is based on the ticket price value of £42.00 + £3.00 Booking Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating

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