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Rock Of Ages, Garrick, 2/2/13

This is... really quite mad. Jukebox musical of 80s rock, with a tentative story of boy meets girl set against a bar being threatened with demolition by big business, and them getting a big star to hold a concert there. It's one of the 'party' musicals - big with birthdays, outings and hen parties - they encourage you to drink and sing along, which can be irritating or awesome depending on a) your mood b) your state of drunk, and c) how tosser-ish the people around you are. We had a group near us who were singing along (badly) constantly chattering and at one point spilled beer down the back of some our lot. Aside from that, the music was mostly loud enough to drown them out. Mildly irritating but not that distracting from fun. And theatre manager apologised profusely, as well as moving the wet members to one of the boxes.

You know that story? It makes no sense (especially when the two supposedly-leads misunderstand everything so... she sleeps with someone else and ends up homeless? the rock god is all over the place and barely in it? the hippy chick does protests which don't jibe with the rest of the play?), most of the time doesn't fit the songs at all, they regularly change the lyrics for some snippets so you can't quite sing along... but do not let this be a deterrent. The singing is good, the dancing is good (but goes a bit too Poison video stripper for comfort on occasion), the house band is awesome, and the entire thing is hysterical. intentionally funny. The semi-sidekick Lonny (Simon Lipkin, last saw him as Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q) who helps run the bar acts as a compere and storyteller, regularly breaking the 4th wall the entire time - seriously, at one point he takes the time to tell one of the cast members he's an actor, this is a play, they're not in 1980s LA, they're in a theatre, and can someone please pass him a programme so he can remind the actor of one of the most embarassing bits on his CV? Oh, and it's clear the cast is having way too much fun. Which is always a bonus. And by the finale, the house has been brought down and awesome is achieved.

seating - we were at the back of the gods, so that meant we had the lighting rig in the way of the big screen at the back they'd occasionally put added photos for visual jokes on, but you didn't really miss much. oh, and you can't see much beyond the edge of the stage into the stalls, which means you have to crane your head whenever they fall drunkenly down the steps into the audience.


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