By Chloe Boike
“It’s the final countdown” to get your tickets to see Beenleigh Theatre Group’s production of Rock of Ages. The show takes the audience down memory lane with all the hit songs from the 80’s featuring amazing singers and a rockin’ band. Audiences should be groovin’ over to the Crete Street Theatre to see this great show before it is too late.
Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical featuring some of the classic songs of the 1980s such as those from well-known rock bands, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Styx and Journey. The original production on Broadway ran for over 2’300 performances and is the 29th longest running Broadway show. Rock of Ages is set in 1987 and starts off in the West Hollywood club, Bourbon Room, run by Dennis and Lonny. When a small-town girl, Sherrie, comes to the city with big dreams she meets Drew, the Bourbon Room busboy who dreams of rock and roll. However, as the club is in the sights of German real estate developers; someone will need to be the one to step up and ‘don’t stop believin’.
The lighting design by Chris Art and Michael Skelton draws the audience into the action and makes them feel as if they were sitting in the Bourbon Room with the characters. The smoke machine effects- at the front of the stage complete the club vibe quite nicely. The sound design by Curtis Lisch creates a nicely blended sound during the ensemble singing sections.
The set design by Michael Skelton, Chris Art and Brett Roberts is simple but perfect as it never overshadows the scenes. The car descending from the ceiling is very creative. The headlights on the audience make it feel like Drew and Sherrie are really driving down the road. The props are very realistic, whether it be the bottles behind the bar, or the pamphlets distributed during the protest. It is a nice touch to give some pamphlets out to a couple of audience members to really make them feel like part of the protest. The costumes designed by Alicia Curuana and Blake Russell are stunning and perfect for the late 80s, from the rock stars to exotic dancers to boybands.
Michael Skelton’s direction is wonderful and utilises many different stage levels as well as the area around the stage. Dancers strut up on the platforms and performers enter and exit from the stairs at the front of the stage. At no point does the stage seem too busy, even when there were multiple scenes happening at once. The musical direction of Julie Whiting captures the rock and roll sound of the 80s flawlessly. The cast passionately express their emotions through every powerful rock song. Holly Leeson’s choreography is a joy to watch. The Exotic Dancers of the Venus Club move seamlessly with the music and are perfectly timed. And what musical theatre performance is complete without at least one round of ‘jazz hands?’
Dylan Hodge is wonderful in the role of Drew. His vocal ability is jaw-dropping and he exhibits all the flare that budding rock stars need. As Sherrie, Jaime O’Donoghue is the perfect small-town girl. Jamie’s comical naïveté when starting off in the Bourbon Room allows her to show considerable character growth throughout the show which feels authentic.
William Boyd is a stunning comedic talent and absolutely hilarious as Lonny. Acting as the show narrator, William provides the light-hearted entertainment the audience needs – even taking a jab at the pandemic. Nathan Staines as Dennis is another strong performer who is a credit to this production.
Isabella Cappelli in the role of Justice is simply sensational. Her vocals are beautiful and her emotional rendition of ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ tugs on the heart-strings.
The show also features an extremely strong supporting cast including Clay English as Stacee Jaxx, Jim Price as Hertz, Madi Jennings as Regina, Sam Piaggio as Franz, Amy McPherson as the money hungry, Mayor, and Christopher Morphett-Wheatley as the surprising exotic dancer, Candi. In addition this there are fabulous performances from Jordan Boyd, Aimee Monement, Dylan Proctor, Amber Douglas and David Harrison. Rock of Ages is rounded out by a magnificent ensemble including Kelly Cooper, Abigail Ellerton, Alana Ellison, Peter Manias, Jemma Organ-Fletcher, Caitlin Routledge, Shelley Scott, Niamh Smith and Tayla Simpson. All of these wonderful performers should be very proud of their work in this production. Bravo!
Beenleigh Theatre Group’s Rock of Ages is a show not to be missed. Th season runs until December 11 and tickets are on sale here. Do not miss your chance to rock out with this rocking cast and all the greats of 80s rock music!