Stuart is an awkward youngster in love, who works alongside his best friend, Rocky, and the object of his affection, Mary.
His shy, geeky personality and lack of confidence is getting in the way of him asking out Mary – even though, unbeknown to him, she is desperately waiting for him to take her on a date. So Stuart makes a deal with the Devil, to trade his soul for the persona of his rock star idol, Rod Stewart. Heading out on the road with his new found confidence, Stewart indulges in the hedonistic lifestyle of a star on tour, but with Mary desperately following and Rocky with an unrequited love of his own, will Stuart ever really get the girl of his dreams?
Tonight’s The Night is a fast paced jukebox musical, based on the music and songs of Rod Stewart. Written by Ben Elton, the show is, in reality, very little more than a fairly clichéd and very thin storyline which links a number of showcase songs belted out with absolute gusto by Ben Heathcote (playing Stuart) and well supported by the remaining leads. With a total of 21 songs, the musical numbers come thick and fast, and you were never more than a few minutes away from the next song.Maggie May, You’re In My Heart, I Don’t Want To Talk About It, You Wear It Well, Do You Think I’m Sexy andSailing all make an appearance amongst the catalogue of hits which had the audience singing and clapping along.
Vocally, Heathcote was perfectly cast as Stuart, whose gravel-voiced versions of the songs were incredibly well performed in the style of Stewart; but with him injecting enough of his personality into both the role and the musical numbers to ensure that he never roamed into the realms of being nothing more than a Rod Stewart tribute act. Jade Ewen (Sugababes vocalist and the UK’s 2009 Eurovision singer) stood out with her soulful voice andAndy Rees as Stuart’s lovelorn, best friend; Rocky; both acted and sang well throughout.
The stage was surprisingly detailed and versatile, and credit is due to the set designer, Andrew Howe-Davies, for cramming so much on stage and utilising the set so well. The lighting throughout the show, designed byAdam Bassett, was also surprisingly good and very effective – recreating a rock concert atmosphere with an excellent lighting design incorporating clever use of colour and spotlights. The staging of the production as a whole was slick, professional and polished and was rounded out by a decent cast who put their all into their performances and looked like they were having a ball doing so.
Tonight’s The Night is currently at the Sheffield Lyceum until 31st May 2014 (http://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/event/tonights-the-night-14/ ) before continuing on its national tour (http://www.tonightsthenightontour.co.uk/ )
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.