Unsurprisingly, a musical based on the hits of Rod Stewart relies heavily on the vocal talents of its cast. Fortunately for Tonight’s the Night, the show is packed with incredible singers churning out an extensive catalogue of music.
With 22 songs crammed into the show, there is little room left for plot and what they manage to squeeze in is weak, but it is the music people have come to hear, not shy Stuart selling his soul to the devil in exchange for the heart, soul and balls of Rod Stewart (yes, really).
Ben Heathcote (Stuart) pulls off the transformation from grease-monkey to rock god with ease, and his character’s fragile relationship with Mary, played by the hugely talented Jenna Lee-James, is expressed through hits such as Lost in You and Tonight I’m Yours.
Huge numbers like Tonight’s the Night, sung by Satan-turned-promoter Tiffany Graves (Baby Jane), and Maggie May, sung by Heathcote and Graves, are broken up nicely by softer versions of I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Andy Rees (Rocky) and What Am I Gonna Do? by former Sugarbabe Jade Ewen (Dee Dee).
Micheal McKell (Stoner) provides some comic relief, with brilliant chemistry when paired with Graves, in the form of an ageing rocker guiding the young and naïve Stuart as he tries to balance Rod’s soul (yes, really) with the part of his own that was left behind.
The musical of course ends with the usual frantic scramble to fit the songs in they just could not find plot for (Sailing, anyone?), but it gets the audience on their feet and leaves you with a warm glow and paper hat to boot.
The problem with jukebox musicals however, once you look past the often feeble plots, is that they often seem to attract fans of artists that do not differentiate the theatre from a concert, and in doing so fail to understand that no-one came to hear the ladies next to them sing the show.