BRISTOL HIPPODROME

Tonight's The Night June 2014

Theatre fan Emma Robbins said: “The second half is definitely better and Stoner stole the show for me.”

The publicity handout says: “The all-singing, all-dancing feel-good show premiered in the West End in 2003 and went on to play sold-out theatres across the UK...Tonight’s The Night features spectacular staging, a world class band, dazzling choreography and includes more than 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, Sailing and many more.”

Good job they didn’t get me to write this blurb.

I cannot believe it also comes with this endorsement by Rod Stewart who says: “In the past, any ideas for musicals revolving around my songs just didn’t work for me. It was only when we were approached to do Tonight’s The Night that the idea really took off. I’m absolutely thrilled that this great show is touring the UK again.”

Set on the mean streets of Detroit and in the glamorous clubs of uptown LA, the show tells the story of Stu, a 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 our hero strikes a deal with the Devil, trading his soul for Rod’s.

It seems like a good idea at the time but he’s is 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!

Luckily the real Rod Stewart is back rocking on the road for 2014 with Europe and US gigs including schmoozing at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Los Angeles for several dates.

He even played a charity concert at Somerset County Cricket Ground this month but you’ve missed that.

If you can’t afford a transatlantic or European trip somewhat alternatively you can make up your own mind about Tonight’s The Night which I think is unsuitable for young children and plays Bristol until Saturday, July 5.

 

Carol Deacon

The Rod Stewart musical Tonight’s The Night opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week and quite frankly someone should send writer Ben Elton back to the drawing board or hang, draw and quarter him.

It was in stormy waters from the opening although it did sail into a successful finale.

But perhaps the cheering and waving audience – many wearing sailor hats-  at the end were all family and friends because I thought it was abysmal and only equalled in awfulness by the cast of Happy Days – with the exception of Cheryl Baker.

When writing one liners Mr Elton is brilliant but try as he Maggie May’d he can’t string a good story together and really does better as a co-writer of comedy shows like The Young Ones and Blackadder.

The relevance of setting the musical in a Detroit gasoline station or getting the star to sell his soul to Satan was lost on me.

My life is played out to the soundtrack of Rod Stewart’s music and I don’t like the songs shouted so my advice is to give this stinker of a show a miss.

I say all this as a fan of Mr Elton as I read his first book Stark (1989), watched his 1999 film Inconceivable, loved him in stand-up wearing his sparkly suit and went to see his musical We Will Rock You with music by the rock band Queen in London.

However, I love Rod Stewart more and this travesty of a show which loosely strings together his greatest hits is a real turkey despite playing to packed houses since it premiered more than a decade ago.

In 2006, British journalist Toby Young summarised often repeated criticisms of Mr Elton, writing: “Ben Elton. Do you know this guy? He started out as an ‘alternative’ comedian, railing against Thatcherism and the like, and now earns a fortune writing the librettos for truly awful West End musicals. I mean, his name has become a byword for shameless hackery. He's the biggest sell-out of his generation.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself but then I also spout an alternative viewpoint and lots of people love what has been dubbed a ‘smash hit musical comedy’.

Sadly had it played for laughs it could have been wonderful.

There were some memorable performances especially from the six principal characters but the scene stealer was Ricky Rojas as Stoner whose impromptu asides even had me laughing as well as the rest of the cast.

The diminutive Ben Heathcote is good – he’s got a gravelly voice – but lacks charisma, Rosie Heath as Dee Dee sounds like Pink and is better.

Mary as Jenna Lee-James is okay but the long-legged ‘mature’ blonde Tiffany Graves as Satan/Baby Jane plays both ‘odd’ roles with a sexy dignity.

But the total package looks amateurish – honestly I have seen better school productions.

I know Maggie May is almost as hard to dance to as the four and a half minutes of American Pie but I didn’t rate the chorus line, the wardrobe scene is appalling and unnecessary and the set and costumes uninspiring.

Sorry this is probably the worse review I have even written and I know lots of people will disagree with me.

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