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Review: ROCK OF AGES at Devon Frieder Productions/Musical Theater Southwest

Review: ROCK OF AGES at Devon Frieder Productions/Musical Theater Southwest

The 80s are Back in this High Energy Romp!

"Don't need nothin', but a good time, and it don't get better than this."

These immortal words from 80's metal hair band legends Poison are the perfect ones to encapsulate Devon Frieder Productions' Rock of Ages, playing now through February 5 at Musical Theater Southwest in Albuquerque. The entire cast is having a blast from start to finish, with tongues planted firmly in cheeks. Everyone in the cast is in on the joke that the scene on the Sunset Strip in LA in the mid to late 80s was extreme, in all ways. From the big hair, neon, leather, spikes and fringe sported by all, to the super-loud and bombastic power ballads being belted out, there is no doubt that you are in for a fun night of theater, all set to your favorite tunes from 80s legends such as Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi and more.

The basic premise is twofold - a love story between small town girl and aspiring actress Sherry (played to perfection by Devon Frieder and small town boy Drew - aka Wolfgang von Colt - aspiring rocker (played by DFP newcomer Dylan Phillips, an actor with excellent vocal control and rock and roll skills). Their story is the usual, will they or won't they fall in love, make it big, find their dream. The second part of the plot sourrounds the Strip mainstay The Bourbon Room, its owner and employees, and the evil German developer who has plans to demolish it all to make way for condos. Club owner Dennis Dupree (Danny McBride) and his sidekick (and the show's narrator) Lonny Christian (Ron Gallegos) are among the biggest comic relief in the show, with both actors showing great timing and comedic chops. Surprising and fantastic performance for Walker Stovall, who steals every scene he's in as Franz Klinemann, son of the evil developer Hertz (John Shelton). The fight for the Bourbon Room, the other nearby clubs, and the rock and roll lifestyle sets the scene for the action.

Other notables in the cast include Laura Cummins Wright, who has some great moments as strip club owner Justice, and Xavier Visage is pitch perfect as the long-haired rock God Stacee Jaxx. The ensemble is strong all the way through as well, and lend fantastic vocals and dance moves to keep the action going. It's always exciting to see a local production where everyone seems completely engaged and in the moment; giving their all. I can't remember the last time I saw a local musical that had such a high level of talent and commitment; kudos to all.

Act two seemed to move a bit slower than act one, some of the comic moments could have been tighter to keep the action flowing in between songs. The only other issue, through no fault of the cast or crew, was a few inane audience members who found it OK to sing (badly and loudly) through the entire show, Maybe Covid fried some brain cells, but the only time it's OK to sing along is if the actors onstage invite you to, otherwise kindly shut up so that we can hear who we paid to see.

You have one more weekend to check out Rock of Ages - get your tickets in advance as the remaining shows are sure to sell out!

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From This Author - Jackie Camborde

Jackie Camborde, Santa Fe, NM: Jackie has spent the majority of her career in the arts, mostly in fundraising and marketing. She is Director of Development for El Rancho de las Golondrinas, New Mex... (read more about this author)

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