April 22nd, 2024

Show Review: Rock is revived at MHMT

By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on March 1, 2024.

Kade Kopec takes centre stage, surrounded by an enthusiastic ensemble during "I Want To Rock" as part of the Rock of Ages performance.--News Photo Anna Smith


Medicine Hat Musical Theatre’s Rock of Ages brings together the narrative of a play with the sheer energy of a true rock concert.

From the start, Mark Semrau as Lonny brings a unique and roguish meta-commentary to the performance, fulfilling the role of the ‘dramatic conjurer” with a true rocker’s flair and at one point, his copy of Acting for Dummies as they determine how to best close out the first act.

The use of a live band over the course of the performance is inspired. The band provides the lively backing track to various 80s rock favourites, and provides a shock of humour when the actors reveal them to not merely be there for the ambiance, but the very real and present members of the in-universe band Arsenal.

With Kade and Jordan Kopec takes centre stage as lead couple Drew and Sherrie, the central romance and conflict that propels the cast across the two acts, both are clear multi-talented performers who leave no question as to why they were cast.

In fact, each member of the large cast seems perfectly suited to their role, disappearing entirely into the characters they portray, from the misguided passion of Regina as played by Andrea Krause, to the relaxed mentor figure of Dave Cannon’s Dennis Dupree.

David Jeffery as Franz Klinemann steals the show each moment he appears on stage, his performance unabashed and earnest in a way that feeds well off of his immediate audience favourite status.

In contrast, Joey Sabourin as Stacee Jaxx and Rob Olson as Hertz Klinemann, while we’re sure they are perfectly lovely in real life, create perfect villains the audience will love to hate.

Energy within the Playhouse is infectious over the course of the production. The actors create an energy not unlike an actual rock concert, making it difficult to remember theatre etiquette and refrain from stomping and singing along.

There is an overwhelming sense that each person who takes the stage is having fun.

Much of this energy is owed not just to the cast, but the crew as well, with the use of fog and strobing and coloured lights, bringing a very real and high-energy atmosphere that doesn’t flag until after everyone has taken their bows.

Tickets for this show have already long since been sold out for every performance, and with media night being such an unforgettable experience, it is hard to believe that the quality of the show can continue to climb, as is expected from multiple performances, but we are confident that the 60-odd people who have made this show a reality will somehow find a way.

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