ROCK OF AGES New Theatre, Oxford Until Saturday

HANDS up if you had a shaggy perm in the 1980s. Eye-liner? Spray-on trousers? A crop top exposing an indecent amount of midriff? And I’m only talking to the guys here.

If you can admit to any or all of the above – or even to Blu Tacking Smash Hits posters of such pretty boys to your walls – you’re going to love Rock of Ages, the ear-splitting, high octane musical which takes the audience back to an era of soaring power ballads and blistering hair metal (think early Bon Jovi and you’re pretty much there).

I wasn’t really sure of what to expect from this award-winning show, currently on a UK tour; only that it was set in the late 1980s and featured all the songs I bawled into my hairbrush to as a teenager – Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again, Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is, the unforgettable I Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon.

What I got was one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages, with raunch and laughs in equal measure – a show I’d go back to see again tonight, and the next night and the next. Until I’ve relearned all those lyrics anyway.

Set in LA in the late 1980s, the story focuses on metal club The Bourbon Room, which is under threat from developers. Small town girl Sherrie (Cordelia Farnworth) arrives in town to seek her fortune and meets city boy Drew (Noel Sullivan) – via a red-hot liaison with debauched rock star Stacee Jaxx (Ben Richards) – and what follows... well, you can pretty much guess at that yourself.

If the name Noel Sullivan rings a bell, it’s because he used to be in the manufactured band Hear’Say. Quite what he was doing singing soft pop when he’s got a voice to melt your face is beyond me – his range and vocal stamina are staggering.

Pinning the whole story together is narrator Lonny (Stephen Rahman-Hughes), a master of comedy who reduced us - and the cast, on occasion - to tears.

And as for Ben Richards as Stacee Jaxx? Lowdown and sleazy he may well be, but I think I might be in love. It must be those tight trousers. MICHELLE TOMPKINS