Rock of Ages

Theatre, West End
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(13user reviews)
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Rock of Ages
© Tristram Kenton

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.


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Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening
Graham Casson

Went to see rock of ages Friday 23rd August 2013 (matinee) and we thoroughly enjoyed the show. Great live band backing the whole show, On stage the actors/singers were excellent with good voices and the mix of songs, acting and comedy were just about right. throughout the whole the atmosphere was electric with the audience joining in with the songs, the whole place rocked from start to finish. Great show!


Wow ! Saw the show last night in its new home at The Garrick. It was AWESOME. It works so much better in this smaller space. By the end of the show the cast and the audience were ROCKING together. Just great fun.


My absolute all time favourite... Sam Marlowe, get a grip this is awesome theatre, the soundtrack is amazing and the acting brilliant... the audience loved it and were itching to get on their feet all 3 times I've seen it !!!! try to aim for the main cast line up though, we saw the show twice with the main cast and once on a Sunday with the understudy cast which wasn't as good I'm afraid. My friend who had only seen it once didn't know the difference and thought it was still awesome though !!

phil innamorati

Sam Marlowe is talking out of his 'derriere!' Why send a critic who hates Rock Music to review 'Rock of Ages'? I treated my wife to show in Feb (while we were down for wkd at Excel Motorbike show fundraising for Charity) & the show unsurprisingly Rocked Out! We were fortunate to have Nathan Amzi as Narrator & his quips & ad libs made the show. The only group that was 'awful' that Sam mentioned was Poison but even their sole decent track 'every rose has it's thorn' was included at an appropriate point in the performance. Critics what do you know? The audience got involved & thoroughly enjoyed themselves... Surely that is a true meter/guage of how good a show really is!!??


Sam Marlowe is either a theatre snob/music snob or hasn't seen this show. No laughs? Are you serious? Idiot!


The story line isn't exactly unique, but I still loved it! Amazing performances from each and every person on stage. When the whole cast is dancing and singing together it is ELECTRIC. The choreography is brilliant and the cast seem to give it everything. Simon Lipkin is outstanding and the big names give honest, almost humble performances. If I had a choice between this and we will rock you, i'd go see this again (We will rock you is so bad I wanted to cry). Not really one for younger kids perhaps as its a bit risque and lots of big bad words! Try and sit as close to the front as poss.


Great fun musical!!! not really one for the theatre but went to shaftesbury on 4th Jan 2012 and had a great night!! cast were amazing especially lead male and female, shane ward does a great job as stacee jaxx and the narrator has amazing interaction with audience!! well worth going to and if your not singing and dancing at the end then you have to take a good look at yourself!!


This musical is easy, cheesy and fun. My wife and i attended on a Tuesday night when 3 of the leading cast were absent (Drew, Sherrie and Stacee Jaxx) but the understudies were great and we would have completely forgotten the fact if we hadn't had seen how good Shayne Ward seemed in the preview clips. I'm looking forward to seeing what Tom Cruise makes of the role in the feature film version.


Great songs sung by a great cast. Predictable story line but with such great comedy and singing who cares? Was not at all what I expected it to be. Give it a shot and you are sure to love it.


A well thought out storyline, a fun narrator and a cast who look as if they are having fun is a sure winner for any good musical and Rock of Ages provides this and much more :)


another tacky broadway import goes to the shaftesbury to die