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ROCK OF AGES
Shaftesbury Theatre, London 11
myself in London by being a good parent and accompanying my teenage son
who was attending a Japanese Anime convention in the city. As this was a
all-day event it meant that I found myself at a loose end on a Saturday
night in Central London, what to do ??
There were a couple of gigs on locally but I decided to go the whole
tourist hog and hit a musical in the West End.
September last year the musical of choice for the discerning rock fan
was 'We Will Rock You' but there is now competition in the shape of
'Rock Of Ages'. Having been a smash hit on Broadway for several years it
has now made it's way across the pond and has been picking up some good
reviews in the past few months.
The music on offer will be more than familiar to anyone who was around
in the 80's: Journey, REO Speedwagon, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, the list
goes on. In all there are 28 songs used over the course of the two and a
half hour show.
purists have complained that the songs have been butchered to fit the
storyline which is true in parts, but when a show is this much fun who
really cares, certainly not the bands as most have championed the
musical at every opportunity over the last few years ( keeps the
The storyline revolves around a couple of key elements, a love story
between a budding rock star, from Detroit naturally, and a young fresh
faced 'small town' girl in Los Angeles aiming to become a movie starlet
who both end up working in Dupree's Bourbon Bar on the Sunset Strip and
the threatened closure and destruction of said establishment.
Opening the proceedings you get a spoken intro from none other than
David Coverdale, which is quite apt as what follows is similar to
watching a 2 hour Whitesnake/ Poison/ Twisted Sister etc video from the
mid eighties, great rock soundtrack, rock stars aplenty, scantily clad
women, lasers and pyro, you get it all and it is all great fun. You are
encouraged to join in throughout and they even hand out small lighter
shaped torches to be held aloft during the ballads which is a nice
As the story progresses, so the musical numbers come and go, 'We're Not
Gonna Take It', 'Sister Christian', 'We Built This City', 'Harden My
Heart' all 80's classics and you will find yourself singing along,
caught up in the moment, hair metal never sounded so good.
As with all these stories the course of true love never runs smoothly,
will they, won't they and there is the cliff hanger over whether the bar
will survive. I won't give away the ending but as the last number is a
mass singalong version of 'Don't Stop Believin' I'm sure you can work it
out for yourself.
If you are looking for a night of cultured, highbrow theatre then this
is not the show for you, however if you want a cracking night out with a
rock soundtrack that will transport you back to your big haired, teenage
years (or is that just me?) then this is most definitely a must see.
And if you choose the right website to book through it is possible to
get a ticket, in the Gods I'll admit, but with a fine view and a couple
of beers for ú30. Not bad for a Saturday night in the West End of
London. I'm off to listen to my 'American Heartbeat' CDů
by David Wilson
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