Monday, 24 February 2014

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT (UK Tour) Review February 2014

Tonight's The Night is back in town! Last touring in 2006, the Rod Stewart musical is once again sailing around the UK and stops off in Birmingham this week. This is the story of Stuart Clutterbuck, a shy, geeky boy from Gasoline Alley who's lack of self confidence prevents him confessing his love for the beautiful Mary. Stuart seeks help from Satan who grants him the chance to swap souls with rock God Rod Stewart - but is that life all it's cracked up to be? 

The musical, written by Ben Elton first opened in the West End in 2003, just a year after his other musical, We Will Rock You. Running for just over a year at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Tonight's The Night hasn't enjoyed half the success of Elton's collaboration with Queen... which is still packs out the Dominion Theatre after 12 years. Judging by tonight's reaction however, you'd believe it was on par. 

The audience go crazy and from the moment the curtain lifts, spirits are high and kept alive by a cast of incredibly talented performers. Topping the bill (albeit in a slightly lesser role than some others) is Sugarbabe Jade Ewan who was the UK's Eurovision entry in 2009 with Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Ewan, who plays Dee Dee reminds us of her incredible voice with a rendition of The First Cut Is The Deepest. 

Jade Ewan

Also in fine voice is Jenna Lee-James as Mary - she can belt, and regularly impresses, particularly with Reason To Believe and I Don't Want To Talk About It. Tiffany Graves revels in her role as Satan and is sexy and sassy as Baby Jane. Both girls have previously appeared as Killer Queen in Elton's We Will Rock You and attack this with a similar vocal power. 

Ben Heathcote is suitably Stewart-esque as Stuart. With similar vocal tone he delights Rod's fans who clearly aren't regular musical bookers and here for the closest thing they can get. Michael McKell reprises his role from the original West End production as Stoner - rousing humour amongst cast and audience and ensuring everyone is up on their feet by the end. 

There is a strong ensemble who bring life to Rod's back-catalogue with exciting and adventurous choreography. With the corrugated iron set, piles of car tyres and cowboy hats it can feel a little Footloose at times but this has a much faster pace. The storyline is, as most jukebox musicals, a little obscure but the likes of the devil appearing in the mirror just adds to the fun. 

This should appeal to both fans of Rod and the musical-lovers... whilst it isn't by any means groundbreaking, it's a pleasant evening out - and for no extra cost, you get a hat to wear during Sailing... although I had mine on for the duration! 

Tonight's The Night is at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 1 March. You can book online here

Cast List: Ben Heathcote, Jenna Lee-James, Jade Ewan, Michael McKell, Tiffany Graves, Andy Rees, Michelle Antrobus, Joshua Dever, Amy Diamond, Rosie Fletcher, Rosie Heath, Sinead Long, Craig Mather, Tom Millen, Darryl Paul, Ricky Rojas, Spin, Lindsey Tierney

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