|Dominique Scott as Drew in Rock of Ages|
Rock of Ages rolled into Vancouver last night for the first of a week long stint at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. The over-the-top Broadway homage to the 1980s hard rock scene was definitely a crowd pleaser and I’d even go so far as to call it a panty shaker. Certainly not for the younger kids, Rock of Ages is a show meant for adults – especially those that lived through the 80s and appreciated the music of Twisted Sister, Journey, Poison, Quiet Riot and all they stood for. Sex, drugs and rock and roll.
The show is a light-hearted and funny look at how we looked, acted and rocked out in the 80s. Big hair, big music and big boobies. It is what it is and it’s not afraid to show it. This was LMFOA’s “I’m Sexy And I Know It” long before Redfoo and SkyBlu ever dreamed of shaking what their momma’s gave them.
The story takes place in 1987 on the Sunset Strip, where a small town girl (Sherrie) meets a big city rocker (Drew) in LA's most famous rock club. They fall in love to the greatest songs of the 80's as the world’s biggest rock band loses its singer (Stacee Jaxx) and the Sunset Strip comes crashing down.
This touring edition of Rock of Ages is the second US tour and has been on the road since October with the same cast we saw in Vancouver tonight. As an ensemble, the cast , is in tune with one another and each has their shining moment to win the crowd over. With the exception of the ace acting chops of Shannon Mullen (Sherrie), Justin Colombo (Lonny, the narrator) and Amma Osei (Justice/Mother), the show was mostly centered around musical performances and dancing – and that’s where the ensemble really works well. The choreography was big, the hair was bigger, and the stage set and lighting was enormous – as was most of the hard rock shows of the 80s.
Dominique Scott plays rocker Drew and had the perfect mix of acting and singing chops to make the character work extremely well, but it was Osei who blew the crowd away with her stunning vocal chops. She could have sang and told stories all night and no one would have complained.
There’s a lot of fun being poked at the 80s here, but it’s not much different than Hairspray was to the 60s, except Rock of Ages leans a lot more on its satire and relies less on its plot. It is a funny show with a lot of great dancing, some good singing and a couple hours of waitresses and strippers showing plenty of underwear.
Rock of Ages is a funny must see show, even if only to hear the great music and remember how silly we all looked in the 80s. Once it hits the big screen as a Tom Cruise flick, you kick yourself for not seeing it when you had the chance.