REVIEW Tonight’s the Night – The Rod Stewart Musical
TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT AT THE BRISTOL HIPPODROME
The Rod StewartMusical
23rdJune – 5th July2014 at The Bristol Hippodrome
Set on the mean streets of Detroit and in the glamorous clubs of uptown LA, the show tells the story of Stu, a love struck, shy young man, so tongue tied that he cannot find the courage to declare his love to the girl of his dreams. How different he is to his hero, that legendary rock n’ roll vagabond Rod Stewart!
One night Stu strikes a deal with the Devil, trading his soul for Rod’s. It seems like a good idea at the time but he’s about to find out the hard way that you can’t find true love using another man’s moves and that devil or no devil, there’s only one Rod Stewart!
There are plenty of set changes with smooth transitions to transport us through various locations, from the auto repair shop to Stu’s bedroom to various bars and even a tour bus!
The costumes are fun and often flashy. There probably are some skirts at the top of the scantily clad women’s legs, but you may need your opera glasses to spot them!
Tonight’s The Night includes over 20 classic Rod Stewart hits like Tonight’s the Night, Hot Legs, Baby Jane, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy, Maggie May, This Old Heart of Mine, I Don’t Wanna Talk About It, Ooh La La, Some Guys Have All the Luck, Forever Young and Sailing.
There’s no orchestra pit as a live band accompanies singers from the scaffolding above the stage.
Jenna Lee-James (Mary) has a lovely voice, especially when singing quietly. In places the sound balance led her to stray towards shouting as she competed with overly loud music. At times Ben Heathcote (Stu) captured Rod’s distinctive sound perfectly. Ibriefly looked away from the stage when he was singing and for a moment thought I was hearing a recording of Rod himself. Stu and Mary’s voices harmonise together well too in songs like “You’re In My Heart”.
There’s often a song in a show which strikes me as ‘the one’ and in this performance it’s Rosie Heath (Dee Dee) who sings “The First Cut is the Deepest”. The audience rewarded the performance with rapturous applause and I suspect a tear or two.
Ricky Rojas was hilarious as the constantly inebriated Stoner. Perhaps his character’s based on Keith Richards, but a few other voices come to mind too when he speaks. On opening night he not only kept the audience thoroughly amused, but left his poor co-cast struggling to keep a straight face too!
There’s a fair smattering of mildly bad language and sexual references throughout, which receive a great reaction from the audience.
There are howls of laughter when Baby Jane’s boasts
“I’ve had the best part of rod Stewart inside of me”
and when the distraught caterer complains about his “limp lettuce” and the state of his “cheesy balls”.
My own favourite dialogue is when Stoner staggers across to ask Baby Jane (Tiffany Graves) for her hand in marriage
“Would you do me the honour if becoming my lawful wedded old lady?”
“You gotta be kidding”
“I suppose a shags out of the question?”
My ten and eight year olds didn’t always understand the humour
“Why’s everyone laughing?”
but I don’t think it really affected their enjoyment. As I’ve said before, if the humour is too old for them it just seems to go over their heads, and I don’t really have a problem with that.
Ben Elton said
“Rod is such a totally unique artist. I initially approached him about a musical because his songs are all about storytelling and I felt that a great story could grow from them.”
But I can’t agree that a ‘great story’ has been achieved as the plot seems pretty basic.If I was cynical lady, I might suggest the storyline was just a tenuous vehicle for linking a number of popular Rod Stewart songs together. 😉
There’s some great music, fab singers, impressive dancers and hilarious comedy moments. Ricky Rojas is superb as Stoner and gets funnier as the show progresses. Always with a glass in his hand. his stilted drunken voice is met with a laugh after pretty much every line.
For some reason though, I wasn’t a huge fan of the show, but of course I was in the minority so you probably shouldn’t take any notice of me. My boys enjoyed it hugely, despite not knowing any of the songs beforehand, and the audience loved it. Their enthusiasm shone through when virtually every one of them donned a sailors cap and waved their arms in the air to “Sailing” – an impressive sight looking down from our box. The energetic finale had virtually everyone up on their feet.