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REVIEW | Rock of Ages rocks the house

CONNECTION: Dylan Shalless, playing Drew, left, and Chris Versteegen, Lonny, steal the spotlight in Horsham Arts Council’s production of Rock of Ages.   Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

CONNECTION: Dylan Shalless, playing Drew, left, and Chris Versteegen, Lonny, steal the spotlight in Horsham Arts Council’s production of Rock of Ages. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Horsham Arts Council life-member
Stuart Johns was so impressed with the council’s sold-out production of Rock of Ages he felt compelled to pen his thoughts on the performances at Horsham Town Hall. Here is his review –

As a teenager I grew up through the 1980s.
I truly did not know what to expect at Horsham Town Hall for Horsham Arts Council’s production of Rock of Ages – I was simply ready to travel back in time and ‘rock out’.
Walking into the town hall and taking a seat, I noted an open curtain, a set in full view and a band at the back of the stage. I immediately started to feel goose bumps.
Rock of Ages is set in the late 1980s on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip.
This was a full-on rock show with countless hits from artists such as Foreigner, Journey, Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister, just to name a few.
It is a typical love story where boy meets girl and yeah, love always wins, but it is how it starts and how it gets to the end that counts.
First-time director Erin Boucher was able to grasp the 1980s and the story line and it all seemed very natural for her.
The show moved along at snappy pace and it was noticeable that Erin, through her theatre craft, created an atmosphere that became second nature to the cast.
This was backed by the choreography of Loucas Vettos, who overall gave the cast some credible ’80s moves that certainly did not distract from the content – but enhanced the connectivity to the audience.
The dance scenes were well organised and had enough punch that no one looked out of place.

PHOTOS | Rock Of Ages band ready to rock

Rachel Da Graca Costa, aka ‘Sherrie’, in her debut performance with Horsham Arts Council, produced a beautiful, strong vocal as she worked to bring a tough character to life.
Poor ‘Sherrie’ had a lot of emotions to decipher and every scene started and ended with polar opposites, mainly due to another debutant, Dylan Shalless.
Dylan, who plays ‘Drew’, also had a strong vocal and captured the role in his love story with Sherrie.
When he holds ‘that note’, and the way he is quite natural at delivering his lines, makes him very easy to watch. He looks at home on the HAC stage.
The character ‘Stacee Jaxx’, performed by Brady King, was the subject of another solid performance, as we have seen in Brady’s previous four productions with the arts council. If you know Brady you will love this role.
‘Dennis Dupree’, the Bourbon Club owner, was well presented by Benji Dixon.
Benji certainly provided comical humour to the show and really supported his other cast members, enhancing their performances – a new bright light for HAC.
Jessica Wilson as ‘Justice Charlier’ showed maturity in her performance.
She gave Justice enough glitz without going over the top to ensure the structure of the casting did not lose its credibility.
Her ability to harmonise was again a feature in her performance.
Simon Dandy played ‘Hertz Klinemann’, a German developer.
This was probably one of Simon’s best performances for HAC. He commanded attention from his first appearance and kept his character for the entire show.
The love story between ‘Regina’, Eleni Vettos, and ‘Franz’, Liam Robertson, was tantalisingly funny.
Eleni now a seasoned performer and holding her own among this talented cast and Liam, in working closely with Eleni and Simon, has him in good stead for future productions.
Chris Versteegen was the glue of the production and my standout performer as ‘Lonny Barnett’.
We have seen Chris in the past few productions but this time it was different.
He brought a natural energy to the role and his vocals have improved so much he failed to miss a beat. You could see the energy of the cast rise with his interactions.

VIDEO | Rock of Ages opening night – what the crowd thought

Chris has the ability to connect with the audience with ease. This was a demanding role, which pieced the show together from start to end.
The other cast member was the band – on stage the whole time.
It was a credit to the musicians in memorising the show from beginning to end.
The band did not detract from the cast and in pumping out some great rock hits seemed to be having a fantastic time.
The ensemble did a good job in supporting the main characters. All were energetic and worked with each other to create key moments to keep the audience drawn into the scene.
Costuming by Debbie Boucher was spot on and consistent throughout.
A few highlights for me were the finale of act one with the Whitesnake song ‘Here I Go Again’ and Poison’s ‘Every Rose Has its Thorn’ where the songs were thrown from performer to performer while they dealt with the issue at hand. Some great moments.
Horsham Arts Council has again delivered, but this time in spades. What a show.
Rock Of Ages Horsham Arts Council 2019 – you rock!

The entire May 22, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on May 22 2019

Posted by on May 22 2019. Filed under Arts Entertainment, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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