Dylan Jones: 'If you've forgotten what it feels like to play air guitar in public then this is the place for you'

Saturday 27 February 2010 01:00

It can't be long before Kurt Cobain comes to Broadway. Who knows, maybe Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty will eventually come too. I say this because last week I saw Rock of Ages, a rather racuous musical presently playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 47th Street in Manhattan, a celebration of Elnett Rock set on the Sunset Strip of the Eighties, that proves yet again that there is little in pop culture that is beyond revival. Or indeed, that is beyond redemption.

Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and U2 were being played loudly in the bar next door, so the omens were good. Well, maybe not all good: When the New Yorker confines a review to a mere mention in "Also playing", you start to think that maybe Rock of Ages might not be the theatrical highlight of the season. I doubt very much, however, if the writer (Chris D'Arienzo) and director (Kristin Hanggi) had the New Yorker demographic in mind when they put the show together.

This is a Big Hair show, an arena rock musical that celebrates the broad-brushstroke heavy-rotation AOR of the early Eighties, and specifically bands such as Journey, Boston, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Poison, Foreigner and Jefferson Starship. So while there's little to admire here – the plot was obviously written while the house band were tuning up – there's plenty to enjoy.

This is one of those shows that thrives on audience participation – demands it, almost, in the same way that the stage versions of Mamma Mia! or Hairspray do. People arrive looking to have a good time regardless – the person sitting next to me was singing "Living On A Prayer" before the show had even started. So if you've forgotten what it feels like to play air guitar in public – and I sincerely hope you have – this is the place for you.

If the show comes to London – and it's proving to be so popular this looks inevitable – you should enter the spirit of things and go sporting leg-warmers, stone-washed denim and a mullet.

Oh, and take a cigarette lighter, too. You'll feel left out if you don't.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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