DESPITE being born in the early nineties, I have always had a place in my musical soul for eighties rock.
Whether it’s AC/DC, Whitesnake or Journey, I’ve never been able to resist the allure of a classic guitar riff.
So when the opportunity came up to see a musical dedicated to the sounds of that period, I knew it was the show for me.
Sitting in Liverpool’s Empire Theatre on Tuesday evening, I – and the rest of the packed out venue – was transported back to a time when big hair, scantily-clad women, tight trousers, sin and debauchery ruled.
Rock of Ages tells the story of aspiring rocker Drew Boley - portrayed wonderfully by Noel Sullivan – and his dreams of hitting the big time on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip.
I didn’t expect much from the former Hear’Say singer – could a Popstar really do those big rock ballads justice?
But my doubts were soon cast aside when Sullivan began to sing, blasting out the likes of Twister Sister’s I Wanna Rock, Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again and countless other classics.
Of course, no musical would be complete without a love story and what Rock of Ages provides is a raunchy love triangle, with both Drew and love interest Sherrie – an aspiring actor – getting their hearts broken along the way.
The cause of their pain? That would be the sexy and alluring rock god Stacee Jaxx, played by former Footballers Wives star Ben Richards.
Dubbed the ultimate rock mix-tape musical, Rock of Ages is a hilarious story of dreams, love and – of course – rock.
Mix a dash of glitter, glam and air of campness into that and you have a show that will have you reaching for your air guitar in a flash.
The story is a little weak in parts but the songs more than make up for that although there are a couple of tracks that don’t quite fit with the others.
Jokes skirt on the edge of being non-PC and speaking of skirts, there are a lot of skimpily-clad ladies who would make Beyonce jealous.
For the women in the audience, the writers have made sure that there is plenty of male skin on show too with Ben Richards’ Stacee Jaxx parading around the stage in just his underpants for a part – something Richards hit the gym hard for in preparation.
But for someone billed as the lead, Richards does not appear on stage all that often although when he does, he blows the audience away.
Despite the countless hits – including We Built This City, The Final Countdown and Keep On Loving You – I couldn’t quite bring myself to sing along.
My inner rock goddess stayed locked inside until the final number of the show – Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, impossible not to sing along with.
As soon as the first bars of that instantly recognisable intro played, the whole theatre – men and all – was on its feet, clapping, dancing and having a rockin’ good time.
The show doesn’t take itself too seriously – it is a sexy, camp and often funny love story that I would highly recommend to anyone whose inner rocker is crying to be let out.
Rock of Ages is a show for anyone who wants to be entertained and with a fantastic set design and live band to boot – entertainment is one thing that this musical is guaranteed to provide.
Rating: 4/5 - A Rockin' Good Time!
Rock of Ages runs at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday, July 26.
For tickets, call the Box Office on 0844 871 3017.