So, what would you expect from a musical based on the rockstar Rod Stewart? A recipe of rock & roll, long-legged blondes, sex and alcohol? You’d be right, and Tonight’s the Night has all that and more.
Whilst Stewart’s fan-base may commonly be slightly north of forty these days, this energetically talented cast have the ability to entertain any audience looking for a night of singing and dancing.
Although not autobiographical, the narrative picks up on aspects of the 69-year-old star’s life with the promiscuous Stu, played by Ben Heathcote, spending his nights on tour with a variety of different women whilst his beloved Mary waits for him at home in Detroit.
Heathcote plays the shy young man who trades his soul to the devil for Rod Stewart’s in order to gain the confidence to ask out Mary, the girl of his dreams, played by Jenna Lee-James. By adopting Rod’s soul, Stu gets all the courage in the world but maybe more than he bargained for.
Like the rest of the cast, Heathcote and Lee-James display their wonderfully powerful voices with classics such as Stay With Me and I Don’t Want To Talk About It, with the former’s gravelly voice having an uncanny resemblance to Rod himself.
Written by comedian Ben Elton, the production takes the audience on an emotional journey as they experienced the outstandingly heartbreaking What Am I Gonna Do?, sung by ex-Sugarbabe Jade Ewen, to roaring with laughter at Michael McKell’s performance as Stoner, a Mick Jagger replica.
The production does begin to feel like a greatest hits collection at times but the tracks are wonderfully interwoven into the love-story between Stu, Mary, Rocky and Dee Dee.
It all comes to a stunning finale with a sea of white covering the stage and stalls as the audience don the sailor hats – handed out at the beginning of the show – and join the cast in rounding off the performance with Sailing, the iconic anthem.
Tonight’s The Night remains in Brighton, at the Theatre Royal, until Saturday 15th March.
Written by Tom Roddy