Bristol Theatre Reviews

REVIEW: Rock of Ages Bristol Hippodrome

Rock of Ages Review Bristol

I came to Rock of Ages last night, with no prior knowledge of the show or movie, other than it is a musical comedy ‘LA love story lavished with over 25 classic rock anthems’.

It certainly kept high octane levels of energy flowing throughout, with a cast of sensational vocalists, rock concert lighting and big musical numbers.

The book by Chris D’Arienzo is a rock music pantomime parody, with an undemanding plot, uncomplicated characters and concepts, a fact it unashamedly embraces. It is what it is.

I wasn’t keen on the portrayal of the two German characters Frantz and Hertz, which through no fault of the actors are based on tired racial stereotypes.

I actually cringed, hoping there were no Germans in the audience, as their choreography incorporated the hint of goose-step and Nazi salute. It’s one thing to laugh with, but it’s another to laugh at, which I felt last night was problematic.

Despite not being a maiden aunt, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the amount of arse and groin flashed throughout the show, as well as simulated oral sex and a large dildo waved about. The words ‘soft porn’ definitely popped into mind during Act 1.

However, the show wasn’t way off the mark with its misogynistic portrayal of 80’s women, reminding me of one of my first jobs decades ago, working at the Bristol Bierkeller with its ageing gigging rock bands and disco after the Saturday night oompah band.

The show does warn that it contains serious rock ā€˜nā€™ roll debauchery with an age suitability of 14 years upwards. I felt Rock of Ages made the Rocky Horror Show look a little tame in comparison.

In last night’s performance, Zoe Birkett gave an incredible performance as Justice, with her fabulous vocal talent.

And crowd-pleasing Lonny, played by Lucas Rush, popped up throughout like a debauched Timothy Claypole, giving a wry take on the evening’s proceedings and was clearly the much-loved favourite amongst the audience.

Rock of Ages is on a UK tour and will be at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 20 April 2019.


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