Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tonight's The Night

Edinburgh Playhouse
Three stars
When gravel-voiced blues singer Rod Stewart sold his soul for a life of 
pop excess accompanied by a roll-call of ever-blonder accessories, it's 
unlikely that the devil made him do it. That's exactly what happens, 
however, to Stuart, the geeky hero of Ben Elton's jukebox musical of 
Rod the Mod's hits which has been on the go for a decade now.
Stuart works in a garage in Detroit, where he fawns over the equally 
bookish Mary. An intervention by a peroxided Satan not only gives 
Stuart the confidence and star quality of his name-sake, but his 
promiscuous proclivities as well. Taken under the wing of archetypal 
rock chick Baby Jane, Stuart  and his new band blaze a trail to the 
top, but there's a little part of Stuart that's always the nice guy.

If all this sounds ever so slightly ridiculous, bear in mind that Elton 
probably knows his Goethe and his Marlowe as well as Peter Cook and 
Dudley Moore did when they reimagined their swinging sixties take on 
Faust in Bedazzled. In terms of the sort of rock and roll mythology 
depicted here, Elton will have also been fully versed in Robert Johnson 
and the Rolling Stones.

The parade of big-haired blondes, black leather pants and hot legs 
galore probably matter more in Caroline Jay Ranger's slickly 
one-dimensional production, and the big voices of Ben Heathcote's 
Stuart, Jenna Lee-James' Mary, Jade Ewen's Dee Dee and Tiffany Graves' 
dual turn as Satan and Baby Jane even more so. Michael McKell hams 
things up deliciously as Stoner in a somewhat dated looking music 
business parable which at its best remains a thrustingly infectious 
romp.

The Herald, February 19th 2014

ends

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