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Rock of Ages comes to Royal & Derngate…

Like a pantomime on Acid but...where's Audrey?

Rock Of Ages Production Photos ©The Other Richard

Antony Costa from Blue may be the draw for punters to go and see this hilarious musical comedy, but once you’re there, you’ll be in for a treat across the board, because this is one of the best ensemble casts this Muddy Editor has ever seen. They were all so talented and engaging (even the dancers), that I didn’t know where to put my eyes when they were all on the stage!

If you’re not familiar with Rock of Ages, it’s an LA love story littered with over 25 classic rock anthems that you’ll be hard-pushed not to sing to (my era baby, and I belted out a few at the end). It’s had extensive runs in London’s West End, on Broadway and in Las Vegas and the show has also been made into a star-studded Hollywood movie (Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin were in the film version which I loved, but this version pushes the needle quiiiiite a way forward and is a naughty, mischievous extravaganza of devlish debauchery)!

Surrounded by leather clad rockers, curvy women in underwear and drugs and booze galore, life at the Bourbon Room on the Sunset Strip is full of wannabe rock stars and actresses looking to become the next rock ‘n’ roll star or Hollywood idol. It might be a global smash hit musical, but it translated nicely to the streets of Northampton and went full on nostalgic 80s glam at the Royal & Derngate.

Anthony Costa was surprisingly funny and on point as Stacee  Jaxx; his stage intro saw him receiving some er, oral attention from a sexy groupie (yup, my 14-year-old certainly left more informed about snorting cocaine off strippers boobs and the like).

If I had to pick a star of the show who cracked the audience up with his super crude jokes and the flounciest, tongue in cheek performance I may have ever seen, it was narrator Lonny (Lucas Rush). His asides to the audience broke the 4th wall perfectly, and his naughty flirting with Audrey in the front row had us all in stitches (even more so in the second half when we realised Audrey had made a sharp exit).

I can’t reiterate enough how good ALL of the cast were though. Great voices, superb dancing and just all-round brilliant casting (the two leads being innocent foils to the background of debauchery – both with a cracking set of pipes). A special mention to the two hilarious German characters (you’ll see when you go), whose Nazi references had me and the teen making proper O shaped mouths whilst trying not to LOL (lots of comedic genius going on here). Dennis Dupree, the aging rocker who owns the club is awesome too; by curtain call, I wanted to go out with this bunch for a night on the Northants tiles (but they’re so rock n roll, where will they go in Northampton? said the teen ; )

Churning out hit after hit like Poison’s Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive and Don’t Stop Believing by Journey; the Northants audience – who have in the past been a bit shy and retiring – were singing and clapping along from the off! If I didn’t have a deadline this morning for the Muddy Awards, I’d go on and on about how good this show is, but as I do, I’ll sign off saying I can’t think of many who won’t like this show (unless of course, you’re Audrey or easily offended)!

Rock of Ages bursts onto the Derngate stage from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 May, with performances at 7.30pm in the evening and 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £19* – can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.

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