Rock of Ages will have you reaching for your air guitar

Ben Richards stars as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages The Musical. Credit Manuel Harlan.

Ben Richards stars as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages The Musical. Credit Manuel Harlan.

First published in News
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Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

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. 

Comments (3)

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1:41pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Doseydotes says...

I'm sorry, have to disagree. I went last night and took my 18 year old son. Was a bit unsure as to what to expect an.d wondering if it was going to be as good as the film. Scrap that, as the film is totally different but the standard of singing was excellent. The jokes were funny and I did sing along so no problems there. Was a bit worried that people had brought their children with them as there were many sexual references and a bit of swearing. All in all a fabulous night out and the cast were incredible. If you can get to see it then do. Not to be missed
I'm sorry, have to disagree. I went last night and took my 18 year old son. Was a bit unsure as to what to expect an.d wondering if it was going to be as good as the film. Scrap that, as the film is totally different but the standard of singing was excellent. The jokes were funny and I did sing along so no problems there. Was a bit worried that people had brought their children with them as there were many sexual references and a bit of swearing. All in all a fabulous night out and the cast were incredible. If you can get to see it then do. Not to be missed Doseydotes
  • Score: 1

8:39pm Wed 23 Jul 14

ziggysasha13 says...

Having seen Rock of Ages in the West End I was dubious about the tour, different cast etc as the cast in London were out of this world. Cam sharp played Drew (he plays Franz on Tour) and Simon Lipkin played Lonny. They both surpassed all expectations and we couldn't see how anyone could match their performance. We were wrong. Saw the show in Manchester and Nottingham and it was just as brilliant each time. Myself, my daughter (19) and son (14) had an absolutely fantastic time each time. We have met some of the cast and they are just as lovely off stage as on. Totally rockin out time. You would be mad to miss it. Get your tickets and go have an awesome evening. Got to get us some more tickets for the show
Having seen Rock of Ages in the West End I was dubious about the tour, different cast etc as the cast in London were out of this world. Cam sharp played Drew (he plays Franz on Tour) and Simon Lipkin played Lonny. They both surpassed all expectations and we couldn't see how anyone could match their performance. We were wrong. Saw the show in Manchester and Nottingham and it was just as brilliant each time. Myself, my daughter (19) and son (14) had an absolutely fantastic time each time. We have met some of the cast and they are just as lovely off stage as on. Totally rockin out time. You would be mad to miss it. Get your tickets and go have an awesome evening. Got to get us some more tickets for the show ziggysasha13
  • Score: 1

1:54pm Thu 24 Jul 14

spend a little live a lot says...

My husband and I watched the show on Monday 21st July, opening night at Liverpool Empire. The audience were rocking to the tunes of the 80's and laughing at the scripted and non scripted tongue in cheek humor. Stephen Rahman-Hughes, played Lonny, and he had the audience in his hands from the instant he stepped on stage, his presence was intense and he held that all through the show, but without distracting from the billed leads. Ben Richards played Stacee Jaxx and gave a great performance and has a great body! Noel Sullivan played his part with feeling and can melt your face with a tune! Praise also goes to Cameron Sharp...particularly for the moment he rips off his suit and burst into song wearing a sparkly turquoise leotard.........Oh just go and see the show.....all the cast are entertaining, energetic and take you back to the eighties (if you were there first time around that is!) Superb - i'm hoping 'Here I go again...."
My husband and I watched the show on Monday 21st July, opening night at Liverpool Empire. The audience were rocking to the tunes of the 80's and laughing at the scripted and non scripted tongue in cheek humor. Stephen Rahman-Hughes, played Lonny, and he had the audience in his hands from the instant he stepped on stage, his presence was intense and he held that all through the show, but without distracting from the billed leads. Ben Richards played Stacee Jaxx and gave a great performance and has a great body! Noel Sullivan played his part with feeling and can melt your face with a tune! Praise also goes to Cameron Sharp...particularly for the moment he rips off his suit and burst into song wearing a sparkly turquoise leotard.........Oh just go and see the show.....all the cast are entertaining, energetic and take you back to the eighties (if you were there first time around that is!) Superb - i'm hoping 'Here I go again...." spend a little live a lot
  • Score: 0

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