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“ROCK OF AGES”
When half the audience is up on stage dancing with the cast during the finale you know you have been watching a pretty decent show, and so it was with the Griffin Players latest musical Rock of Ages. As a piece of traditional musical theatre it would have Rodgers and Hammerstein turning in their graves, but as a piece of simple musical entertainment it was out of the top drawer and left the Library Theatre rocking.
Rock of Ages is a cheesy jukebox musical that holds nothing back; it is loud, surprisingly
funny, often rude and occasionally shocking but generally engaging. If the story
was pretty thin and occasionally got lost in parts and some of the classic songs
seemed to be a little shoe horned in, ultimately it didn’t matter -
Director Richard Alexander had a first class cast who delivered, and at the same
time seemed to be having as good a time as the audience. Richard moved his characters
around the slightly cramped stage with ease and the pace never faltered. Seeing the
opening night of a show sometimes means you do not get to see the best performance
As the leading lady Katie Alys Barton sang beautifully as the stardom-
As Lonny Joshua Thompson obviously found his true role, seedy but still somehow charming.
He tied the show together, communicated well with the audience and this was possibly
the best performance I have seen him give to date. Along with the grumbling and growling
Dennis – Paul Rogers -
Marc Rolfe as ageing rock legend Stacee Jaxx lumbered around the stage letching at any lady in sight.
There were a few dodgy accents at times, but if anything they added to the fun. Luke Murphy’s performance as the German businessman Hertz was overshadowed by his son Franz, played by Carl Connelly who sounded as though his German accent was pinched from the Three Little Pigs in Shrek. Carl almost stole the show with his overly camp portrayal.
Chloe Badham was a good hippy Regina who finally got her man, and I loved her rendition of We’re Not Gonna Take It. The main cast was completed by Jenna Ryder Oliver as the Madam Justice.
Richard Alexander also got the best out of his Ensemble. Ellie Turton, Jo Herd, Juliet
MD James Driver got the best out of his singers and his band was excellent; in conjunction with Graham Elliott’s sound the band cleverly underplayed the lib when required, did not overpower during the poignant ballads and upped the tempo and noise for the heavier rock numbers.
Lynette Driver’s choreography was subtle in places and very raunchy in others, a fine mixture of styles and grouping throughout and a special mention for Jo Herd’s outstanding dancing.
Gary Nash once again came up trumps with his set -
In conclusion, one of the best shows to grace the Library Theatre stage for some time, expertly directed and a great evening’s entertainment.
GRIFFIN PLAYERS -
review date: 22nd June 2017
Luton Library Theatre
Director: Richard Alexander
MD: James Driver Choreographer: Lynette Driver
Asst: Kerry Collins