By Megan Mooney
Rock of Ages Rocks the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto
Rock of Ages is pure unadulterated fun. It pokes fun at itself and standard conventions of musical theatre throughout. There’s never a moment where it takes itself too seriously.
In fact, to drive that point home, in the latter part of the show the narrator says that we don’t get everything we want in life, and that he “wanted to explore deep and challenging theatre” but instead he was in this. The whole show is playful, delightful and a great deal of fun.
Now, it stands to reason that if you were around in the 80s and listening to popular music, you’re probably going to get the most out of this. My show partner for the piece, Yves, said “It’s hard not to sing along if you’re a product of the 80s” And he’s right. I caught myself singing a lot. My lesson of the night would appear to have been that I still remember the lyrics to the music from my teens, enough to sing along at least…
Speaking of fun… Corporate looking folks in their 40s, still in suits from work, filled the theatre and rocked out to the music of their youth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally expect people in suits to be rockin’ out. It was a pretty funny contrast, and really great to see.
But, if you weren’t around in the 80s, don’t worry. The music is fun, the singing is great, and there’s lots of humour that you don’t have to know anything about the 80s to understand. Plus, there’s dancing and lots of scantily clad attractive people. I mean, really, what’s not to like?
The show was full of excellent performers. Great singers and dancers, all of whom looked like they were having a great deal of fun (sensing a theme?). But there were three who really blew me away.
The first was Cody Scott Lancaster (Franz) who basically won my heart the second he took the stage. The man has fantastic comic timing, and the ability to tell a story through body language that is something to behold. In fact, he even had some audience members on their feet when he was finishing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. There’s actually a lot I can’t pin point on why I loved him so much, but he was absolutely the highlight of the show for me.
I also wished we got to hear more from David W. Keeley (Dennis), who has a fantastic voice. I wanted to hear way more of it. Which was also how I felt about Angela Teek (Justice). Her voice blew me away, leading me to scream my approval (as one is wont to do at such shows), much to the dismay of the lovely gentleman sitting in front of me, who visibly cringed.
Which brings me to a warning of sorts… People are going to scream at this show. And laugh, and clap, and generally make lots of noise. If you are, like the gentleman in front of me, going to be annoyed by such things, you may not want to go. If, however, you’re like me and find such things just add to your enjoyment of the show, then go, because there will be a lot of it. I have no doubt that the audiences for this are going to be great, and very into the show.
Speaking of into the show… If you have been dying to get yourself into some 80s garb and give yourself some big hair, now’s your chance. The audience was filled with people dressed in their 80s finest to celebrate the evening.
The bottom line is if you’re looking for a fun feel-good night, Rock of Ages is the place for you. Like I said, fun was the recurring theme. Yves and I both certainly had a fantastic time.
– Rock of Ages is playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King St W)
– Performances run Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8pm with matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm, and Sunday evenings at 7PM.
– Ticket prices range from $28 to $99
– Tickets available through Ticketking at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333, or online at www.mirvish.com
Photo of Victor A. Young, Josephine Rose Roberts and Cody Scott Lancaster by Joan Marcus
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