Monday, August 26

Rock of Ages

- April 19, 2019

Once again a triumphant production from Katy Markey, the powerhouse behind Apollo Productions. This extraordinary young woman has, for years now, staged exceptional productions by collecting around her some exceptional young talent. Rock Of Ages is the latest in this canon of work and it’s as good as ever. I’m no fan of this kind of rock music but pretty soon I was, how do you say? Ah yes, in the groove!

The stage was filled, yes Katy works with a huge number of youngsters from very young to still young and one thing is clear – they all commit to being in the show. They are well drilled in every aspect of being on that stage, from vocals through to the choreography and the impact is impressive, not a note out place and hardly a foot, and all this is from the ensemble.

Onto the principals then and it’s incredible to see that she finds so many talented singers and actors, there are performers on the stage with voices that would not be out of place on any professional stage, great voices and great acting too, humour, emotion… it’s all there. Too many great performances to name them all here sadly and particularly amongst the female cast. But it would be wrong not to mention a handful of the stars of this rockin’ romp so here goes.

Ernest Stroud brings camp humour to the role of Lonny with an energetic performance and the part is impressively countered by Max Bower as Dennis. Lara Sweeney’s Sherrie is beautifully believable as she journeys from innocent wannabe to sleazy lap dancer and back. Amie Shouler blows the stage away as Regina with a voice that could move not only your soul but mountains. The comedy role of the evening has to be Daniel Walford’s portrayal of Franz, expertly controlled and then suddenly bursting out to display not only a brilliant voice but the dance performance of the evening.

Finally Ollie Wray, a young talent that I have now seen in a variety of roles. Ollie has a fine voice, a classic voice suited to many roles, but last night it was a different voice, a rasping rock voice, convincingly harsh but still full of true musicality. Drew’s bluff exterior was perfectly drawn as was that inner fragility that makes the role, and dare I say it, the show worth watching.

I sat next to a friend who had recently seen the professional tour of this show and she declared that this was by far the better production – and I believed her!

18 April

Apollo Productions at Roedean School Theatre

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★★

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