Two Kevins Surprise At New Wimbledon Theatre

Review: Great music in Rock of Ages will get you on your feet

Rock of Ages at New Wimbledon Theatre

Rock of Ages provided me with two pleasant surprises and both were called Kevin.

Current Strictly Come Dancing Champion, Kevin Clifton who plays Stacee Jaxx, the rather obnoxious lead singer of the band Arsenal, can certainly belt out a tune while the man previous known to me as Curly in Coronation Street, Kevin Kennedy as Dennis, the manager of the Bourbon Club, not only sings but is pretty nifty on guitar.

The rather predictable plot is a love story centred around Drew and Sherrie, played by Luke Walsh and Jodie Steel, who meet in the Bourbon Club on Sunset Strip where they both work. Drew has aspirations to be a rock star while Sherri hopes to become an actress. Everyone but themselves know that they have fallen in love...

A side plot centres around Hertz and his son Franz who want to redevelop the Strip. Both Vas Constanti and Andrew Cathy ‘ham it up’ wonderfully, using props and a rather unique goose-step to leave the audience in no doubt of their ‘naziness’.

Enter Stacee Jaxx who seduces then rejects Sherrie, blackmailing Dennis into sacking her from his club.

Act 1 ends with a great song, ‘Here I Go Again’ (Whitesnake) but with the fortunes of the two main characters having taking different turns, not necessarily for the better; Drew has been forced by his manager to become a member of a boy band while Sherrie, now jobless, has been taken under the wing of Justice, played by the powerfully voiced Zoe Birkett, who offers Sherri employment in her ‘gentleman’s club’..

While continuing to follow the fortunes of Drew and Sherrie, Act 2 also focuses on the locals of Sunset Strip led by Regina (Rhiannon Chesterman) as they protest against Hertz’s plans and probably the biggest laugh of the evening came when Regina and Franz stripped off to reveal matching wrestling (?) outfits to the strains of ‘Hit me with your best shot.’

The show is held together by Lucas Rush as Lonny who, probably more an interferer than a narrator, is very funny if somewhat lewd!

The entire show is based around some great music and the finale features one of my favourites, 'Journey's Don’t Stop Believin’ and this had the audience on its feet.

As a hard core fan of Strictly Come Dancing, who has seen several of Kevin’s own dance shows, it was hard seeing him portraying such a horrible (and sexist) character but that obviously reflects his acting skills so I can see Kevin with a future in musical theatre. However, if his fans are going to the show expecting to see Kevin from Grimsby, I think they’ll be surprised too.

By Anne Horsburgh

February 28, 2019