Rock of Ages: Rock that Rages

“A no-teeth shot? Not for me!” – Nyoy

Two things convinced me to go see the show: 1. the music from the eighties and 2. the talented cast. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a fan of new wave/postpunk, synth pop and glam metal. I know a bit of Poison, Whitesnake, Europe, Journey and all that. As for the cast, it boasts of heavy star power. I’ve seen MiG Ayesa perform as Galileo Figaro in “We will Rock You,” while I’ve always held Jett Pangan in high regard as a rock figure (long live The Dawn). Heck, I even have a former batch mate and fast-rising star in the crew – good job, Bibo Reyes!

“Rock of Ages” is based on the book written by Chris D’ Arienzo and its local adaptation is directed by Chari Arespacochaga, under Atlantis Productions. It’s been showing at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorion (RCBC Plaza, Makati) since June 15, and will continue until July 8. It’s a wise choice of venue for the acoustics and performer-to-audience intimacy. The sound of the band was decently audible from the back seats. I could perceive the texture of the distorted guitars, steadily tight bass and minimally wet drums. The keyboards were thankfully prominent, too.

Jett Pangan, who portrays Lonnie (narrator/character), offers a generous amount of comic relief. He was the most constant character in the storyline and the most consistent actor at that. I found it hilarious to see Aiza Seguerra perform. The way she injected her quirks and personality into her character made her a charming Regina (“sounds like ‘pussy!'”). Witnessing MiG’s muscular build meld with his Stacee Jaxx getup was tantamount to seeing the reincarnation of a glam god in all his, well, glam glory. His powerful vocals and sexual (albeit caricature) antics bring back the days of rock n’ roll’s royal overindulgence. This was also the first time I saw Nyoy Volante act and sing live so he exceeded my expectations. Vina Morales, whose reputation precedes her, offered me no surprise in making her star shine brightly. If “Rock of Ages” really is her first foray into theater like the programme says, then she was utterly brilliant (so was her six pack). Lastly, I admire Bibo Reyes for his energy. I imagine that he had a blast playing the vivacious Franz.

Ultimately, “Rock of Ages” finds strength in its entertainment value. I reckon that D’Arienzo is just another eighties music fan who intended to flaunt the rock and the roll over any plot or character complexity. Take it from Lonnie: there always has to be a love story – and aren’t love stories mostly trite and cliche nowadays? The story felt rather contrived – it was obviously built around the songs, but that’s okay. The show’s main goal is to give audiences nothin’ but a good time and it does. With a reference and humor-filled script whose nihilistic soundtrack is given justice by a highly competent ensemble and band, “Rock of Ages” guarantees a barrage of chest thumping and headbanging.

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