Rock of Ages at Garrick Theatre - West End - Time Out London

Jan 18-Nov 2

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Time Out says  

Posted: Fri Sep 30 2011

This review is from 'Rock of Ages's 2011 premiere; current cast includes Tim Howar as Stacee Jaxx and Daniel Fletcher as Daniel Dupree

This poodle-rock jukebox musical import from Broadway - where it was, oddly, a critical and popular success - is predictably loud, tacky and silly. It is also, let's concede, pretty slick.

As Kristin Hanggi's production cranks the amps up to 11 and tinsel rains down in nigh-suffocating quantities, the onstage band execute their bombastic riffs and masturbatory guitar solos with precision.

The cast are perfectly competent too. 'X Factor' winner Shayne Ward looks surprisingly comfortable in the tight trousers and luxuriant wig of egomaniac singer Stacee Jaxx; Oliver Tompsett and Amy Pemberton play two starstruck young lovers with hollering gusto; and Simon Lipkin gurns and grinds as the priapic, mullet-sporting narrator.

The biggest name - TV presenter Justin Lee Collins - puts in a slightly self-conscious turn as a Sunset Strip club owner; but as he gets relatively little stage time, it hardly matters much.

A much more serious problem is the shortage of laughs in Chris D'Arienzo's book. There's none of the sly wit of masterly comic rockumentary 'This Is Spinal Tap' here: this is full-on, balls-out spoof, its gags too cheap and broad to be genuinely funny.

As for the songs, by the likes of Whitesnake, Foreigner, Poison and Bon Jovi, they are (and always were) pretty awful. The crotch-centred antics of a posse of scantily clad girl dancers offer a dubious distraction. But for all the show's pretensions to sleaze, its soulless shenanigans couldn't be much less rock'n'roll.

Garrick Theatre details

Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0HH

Garrick Theatre

Rough around the edges, but with a populist charm, the Garrick has been known to stage the odd dud in its bid to please the masses. A standard...

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