Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Musical of Rod's Rock Hits
Who knew Rod Stewart had such a back catalogue of sentimental, heartfelt songs that could translate into a musical soundtrack? Well Tonight's The Night you find that out.
Sassy she-devil in Tonight's the Night
The forte of this musical production of Rod Stewart hits is (obviously) the music and songs, supported by a cast of great singers, including Sugababe and former Eurovision Song Contest Brit entry in 2009, Jade Ewen.
Written by comedian Ben Elton, the storyline of this musical is not as strong as his other prominent theatre work - We Will Rock You - but it is enjoyable enough.
Catching the performance at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre, the story follows Stuart, a nerdy, shy Rod Stewart fan who dreams of being more confident in order to win the heart of the woman he loves, Mary. He signs a pact with the devil to swap souls with Rod Stewart and get the rock'n'roll life he craves. And in keeping with the essence of Rod, it's naturally a saucy she devil in a silver catsuit and long red rocker coat.
In fact, there's no end of sassy rock chicks and ladies provocatively dancing in hot pants, but all to great songs like Hot Legs, Stone Cold Sober and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Songs of Rod Stewart make up Tonight's The Night musical
The voices, in particular the females in the cast of Jade Ewen, Tiffany Graves and Jenna Lee-James, are staggering, but it is rocker Stoner, played by former Casualty and Doctors star Michael McKell, who steals the show as a drunken, wild, lovable rogue. He doesn't sing much, but he has the acting ability and charisma to stand out - more so than the lead, Ben Heathcote.
While Heathcote is a good singer, he seems miscast as he lacks the swagger, charm and va va voom to make him believable as a supposed rock god that women are throwing themselves at.
My only other gripe is that it was hard to sometimes hear or follow the dialogue on stage as the conversations and sound were not clear enough.
But with songs like Maggie May, I Don't Want To Talk About It, and Baby Jane cleverly fitted around a light-hearted, somewhat flimsy storyline, it didn't make much of a difference to the entertainment value of the show.
Every member of the audience even got a sailor hat as you enter in preparation for the finale of... You guessed it, hit song Sailing.
Jenna Lee-James stars as love interest Mary
Plus there is megamix to round off the show featuring sultry female bagpipers.
It's sexy, a bit silly and full of rock - but what more would you expect of something that is supposed to be the essence of Rod Stewart?