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Review: Rock of Ages tears the roof off the Mayfield

Rock of Ages doesn't disappoint--the voices, the energy, the classic hits make for a surefire good time.

Come on, feel the noise... Yes, the amps are turned up to 11, and there's big hair, shoulder pads, acid wash jeans, scrunchies, neon and 80s everything onstage now at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. The sights and sounds of the wildly popular, Tony Award-nominated Rock of Ages has finally arrived, and the sometimes raucous, sometimes raunchy and always entertaining Broadway musical hasn't missed a beat, some three years after it was set to start rehearsals here before being derailed by the pandemic. This cast is ready to party!

The Mayfield Dinner Theatre puts another one in the win column with this show, and song after hit song (including Every Rose Has Its Thorn, I Want To Know What Love Is, We're Not Gonna Take It and the showstopping finale, Don't Stop Believin'). Add to that a few scantily-clad dancers, the audience-interactive emcee/club owner Lonnie (played to the hilt by funny fellow Aaron Walpole), and a fantastic house band and it's simply the Mayfield at its best.

Director Kate Ryan skillfully wrangles this large cast production, which features a handful of incredible rock 'n' roll voices doing justice to the likes of Cum on Feel the Noise, Waiting for a Girl Like You and Hit Me With Your Best Shot. The singing is on-point across the board, but there are stand-out performances in this sometimes-silly (but lovingly so) juke box musical, which is very light on storyline but heavy on heart, humour and talent.

The action circles around small-town girl Sherrie (played with the right touch of vulnerability and grit by Kaleigh Gorka) who comes to L.A's Sunset Strip to make it big as an actress. At a club, she meets city boy Drew (who just wants to be a rock singer--and man, can actor Kale Penny wail--his vocals seem effortless) but of course fate conspires to interfere with the young lover's dreams.

The club where rock reigns supreme is set for demolition, you see, so it's up to a band of friends, a protestor or two and a couple of German suits with the money (it's a musical, just go with it) to create the conflict and then save the day; save the get the idea. Oh, and legendary rocker (and legendary lover) Stacee Jaxx is in the mix too, taking the stage at the historic rock venue and turning groupie's fantasies into reality--it's steamy fun, hilariously played by Robbie Towns who has quite a set of rock n roll pipes on him too.

Besides Penny and Towns, Mayfield stalwarts Pamela Gordon (Strip club matron Justice) and Brad Wiebe (club co-owner Dennis) bring their fantastic vocals to this production too. Wiebe has a classic rock voice, and is especially fun in a duet with fellow club owner Lonnie, using a fog machine to great effect! 

You can't have a great rock show without a great band, and this one delivers. Jennifer McMillan leads Steve Hoy, Kyle Hunter, Derek Stremel and Mo Lefever in front-and-centre, guitar and drum-heavy numbers, to 80-s perfection. The band is part of the cast--rightly so.

Rock of Ages is a celebration: bring your friends, bring your parents and rock on! You won't regret it.

Rock of Ages plays through June 11. For tickets, see