Yep – Here I go again, second Rock of Ages show in a week. It’s been a while since that happened! This time it was Simon Lipkin taking to the stage as Lonny and, let’s face it, I wasn’t going to miss that! This time I was in Row A of the stalls, and it was a brilliant view. I also bumped into a few ROAdies in the bar; Emma, Ali, Gemma, Elaine, Sophie and Carol. It was like a mini reunion!
As Simon burst out onto the stage I could tell right from the start that it was going to be a good show – he was putting everything into his performance and I sensed that there may be a bit of mischief throughout the show – I was right! Right at the beginning as Lonny makes his way to the front of the stage to swing his nunchucks at an audience member, so there he is swinging his nunchucks and declaring “it’s going to be a schlong night” and then he says “go on, reach out and touch it go on.” When the woman didn’t move the nunchucks, currently swinging around in front of his crotch, got slower and slower and began to droop; “come on, I’m losing it here. This never happens I promise. Come on, stay with me little buddy!” I could not breathe I was laughing that hard, and it didn’t help that the entire cast stood behind him were in stitches either. It was going to be one of those shows!
And he didn’t stop there. As Lonny goes to set up the stage for Dennis (Dan Fletcher) he hijacks the microphone and says “testing testing 1 2… I have an enormous penis.” At this point he dragged his (imaginary) enormous penis along with him to the table where Dennis was sat and proceeded to slap him in the face with it. How Dan kept a straight face I will never know, but the best moment by a mile was “Can’t Fight This Feeling” – the duet between Dennis and Lonny. As they come together at the end it’s not unusual for the audience to start shouting “kiss!” however it is unusual for Lonny and Dennis to touch tongues, which they did. They agreed they had gone “too far” and Dennis declared “I felt nothing” while Lonny replied “I did” and started thrusting at him. I swear I nearly fell out of my chair laughing, it was absolutely hilarious.
Simon wasn’t the only cast member on top form. It was a Rock of Ages debut for Stephen Rolley and his performance as Drew is one of the best I have ever seen – and I’ve seen eight other Drews. He was so confident and had such a brilliant “rock” voice – he reminded me a lot of Oliver Tompsett’s Drew which is a very big compliment. He was more than a match for Cordelia Farnworth’s strong vocals and to watch them duet was a real treat, they really challenged eachother and “High Enough” was filled with so much emotion that I had to fight back the tears.
There are no words for Cam Sharp as Franz. He was born to play that role and it’s an absolute joy to watch him on the stage. He’s improved so much since I last saw him in November and he blew me away. His “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was just incredible and probably the best performance of the song that I’ve seen. He also brings out the best in Jessie May who plays Regina – she took a bit of getting used to as she is so different from Jodie Jacobs who played the role on the West End, but last night I really enjoyed her quirky take on the role and she really does have a brilliant, powerful voice.
Abigail Climer was on for Justice which meant that Tara Verloop was on stage as Waitress #1. I have only ever seen two actresses play Justice so this was a huge adjustment but I loved how Abigail played the role, it was different but still very good. Tara was just amazing. She is a cracking little dancer and, together with Kylie Michelle Smith who plays Young Groupie and Imogen Brook who plays Constance, they made a formidable trio.
Towards the end of the show Dennis, now an angel, comes into the audience and attacks people with handfuls of confetti. He. Is. Lethal. Unfortunately I was in a very vulnerable position, being on the end of a row near the front of the stalls (Simon had already shined his torch in my eyes during “The Final Countdown”) and, as soon as Dan Fletcher came off the stage, I knew I was in trouble. He headed straight over to me and deposited the majority of his confetti right on my head, mussing it all into my hair for good measure. Thanks Dan.
After the show I headed to the stage door, where there were a few drunken women who were pissing people off – they’d been heckling in the second act up to the point where they were kicked out of the theatre, and they were now stood in front of the stage door shouting for “Stacee.” Idiots. When Cam Sharp came out he was pounced on and I could only laugh as he sent me little “help me!” looks.
Dan Fletcher and Simon Lipkin were next out. In Simon’s words – “I know you love Nath but we have the tattoo thing,” and it’s true. At the last Rock of Ages show we spent a good ten minutes talking about my latest tattoo, and I’d told Simon on Tuesday that I’d have a new tattoo by the time I saw him again on Thursday, so of course he wanted a look. It’s on my back so I just pulled my t-shirt up so Simon could see, and Dan came over for a look as well, which must have looked very strange to the waiting crowd. Dan then pointed at me and said “Ha ha, got you!” I couldn’t really argue because I was still absolutely covered in confetti. Because my new tattoo was so sore I’d told Simon not to touch me (he was threatening to give me a big bear hug) so as we posed for a picture he started putting his hand in my face shouting “not touching, can’t get mad, not touching, can’t get mad!” I was laughing too much to hold my phone up and Simon saying “come on, take the picture!” didn’t help. I had lots of (very gentle) Dan hugs and said goodbye to them both. I had a lovely chat with Cordi and she said that she’d spotted me and my Mum in the audience, and was surprised how many ROAdies had turned up. “It’s for Lipkin isn’t it?” Erm?!