Rock of Ages at The Grand Opera House York – Review

Last night we were invited along to the press night of Rock of Ages at The Grand Opera House in York.  For those of you unfamiliar with the musical, it’s set in the late 80’s in a rock club on Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  It has an incredible score of 80’s rock anthems (think ‘We Built This City’, ‘The Final Countdown’, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ and my personal favourite ‘Don’t Stop Believin’!’  

I’ve see Rock of Ages before so was really looking forward to it, knowing that I loved all the songs.  I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed!  Some really great songs delivered at high volume and with gusto.  What I wasn’t prepared for was just how funny this production was going to be!  Much of this credit has to go to Joe Gash who plays a wonderfully charismatic and camp, Lonny.  He is ever present as the narrator throughout the show, and a real standout character for me.


rock of ages review
Rock of Ages – photographer credit – The Other Richard


The show is an amazing cross between concert, comedy and theatre with a bit of slapstick panto-esque banter thrown in!

The set and lighting were excellent, it really did feel like you were there at a concert.  The audience loved it and were up on their feet more than once, dancing and clapping.  It’s a great feel-good show, you are guaranteed to come out happy.



Background on the Cast


The producers of ROCK OF AGES are thrilled to announce full casting and additional dates for the UK tour starring Kevin Kennedy as ‘Dennis Dupree’ alongside Cameron Sharp as ‘Stacee Jaxx’ from Tuesday 23 August when the show opens in Inverness. The cast also includes Natalie Winsor as ‘Justice’, David Breeds asFranz Klinenmann’ and Tianna Sealy-Jewiss joins the ensemble. They join returning cast members Sam Turrell as ‘Drew’, Gabriella Williams as ‘Sherrie’, Vicki Manser as ‘Regina’, Joe Gash as ‘Lonny’, Vas Constanti as ‘Hertz Klinemann’, and Erin Bell as ‘Constance’ with Billy Roberts, Scott Hayward, Darius James, Reece Duncan, Hollie-Ann Lowe, Phoebe Samuel-Gray and Morgan Scott.


In 2022 the production will visit Inverness, Glasgow, Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells, Poole, York, and Cambridge. Full casting for 2023 tour venues to be announced, and full tour listings are below.


Kevin Kennedy is probably best known for his portrayal of Curly Watts in Coronation Street. His West End theatre credits include Amos in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre and We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre. Kevin has played both Caractacus Potts and The Child Catcher in the hit musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, becoming the first actor to have played both roles. He appeared as Dennis Dupree in the 2018 UK Tour of Rock of Ages and has also appeared in the national tours of the musicals The Rocky Horror Show, The Commitments and Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends.


Cameron Sharp returns to Rock of Ages, having been part of the show in the West End and on tour. His other theatre credits include School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Sunset Boulevard at the Royal Albert Hall and the UK Tour of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.


Natalie Winsor’s theatre credits include Fame at the Shaftesbury Theatre, ABBA Voyage at the Abba Arena and the UK Tours of Jekyll and Hyde, Cinders and Dirty Dancing. Her other theatre credits include Lavelles – The Ladies of Motown, Rent, Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


David Breeds was most recently seen in the West End in Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward Theatre. His other theatre credits include the National Theatre’s tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime and Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s The Girls.


Sam Turrell returns to Rock of Ages and the role of Drew having performed the show around the world on the NCL Breakaway cruise ship.


Gabriella Williams theatre credits include Sophie in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre, Eugenius! at the London Palladium, Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse and Miss Saigon and Grease, both on a UK tour.


Vicki Manser’s theatre credits include Katherine Howard in Six both at the Arts Theatre and on a UK tour, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre and on a UK tour, Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre and Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre.


Joe Gash’s theatrical credits include entertainment for P&O Cruises Australia and Kenickie in Grease for Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. Most recently Joe appeared as Freddie Mercury on ITV1’s new show Starstruck.


ROCK OF AGES is the hilarious musical comedy lavished with over 25 classic rock anthems, including, ‘We Built This City’, ‘The Final Countdown’, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, played loud and proud by an awesome live band. Leave it all behind and lose yourself in a city and a time where the dreams are as big as the hair, and yes, they can come true!


Now a global smash with hit seasons on Broadway, London’s West End and Las Vegas and a star-studded Hollywood movie version this show promises you the best party night out around.


The crew is made up of Company Stage Manager Matt Harper, Technical Stage Manager Ben Larkin, Technical Assistant Stage Manager Kyle Campbell, Deputy Stage Manager Sophie Mason, Assistant Stage Manager/Book Cover Mali-Beth Rose, Sound 1 Nicholas Newman, Sound 2 Toby Maiden, Chief LX Rich Hoxley, LX2 Roisin Dullard, LX3/Tech Swing Callum Brady-Temple, Head of Wardrobe Melissa Hamill and Wardrobe Assistant Nicola Riley.


The band is made up of Musical Director and Keys Liam Holmes, Guitar 1 Liam Stevenson, Guitar 2 Alex Ward and Bass Guitar Elliot Mason.


“ROCK OF AGES” has a book by Chris D’Arienzo and arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.


The full creative team includes Nick Winston  (Director of the feature film “Tomorrow Morning”, “MAME”, “The Royal Variety Performance”) who Directs and Choreographs the show, Set and Costume design by Morgan Large (“The Woman in White”, “Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat” and “Tell Me On A Sunday”), Lighting Design by Ben Cracknell (“Sunset Boulevard”, “Pantoland at the Palladium”, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”), Sound Design by Ben Harrison (“Mame”, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Fame”) and Video and Projection design by  Duncan McLean (“The Car Man, Nutcracker! and Magic Goes Wrong”). Casting Director is Jim Arnold CDG, Associate Director is Victoria Gimby, Associate Choreographer is Ryan-Lee Seager and Associate Lighting Designer is Chris Vaughan. Costume Supervision by Lee Tassie and Production Management by Phil McCandlish. 


I attended the press night of Rock of Ages, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.