Tonight’s The Night rocked in to the New Wimbledon Theatre last night, bringing a bit of Rod Stewart to the stage at an affordable price.
Jukebox musicals aren’t typically my thing but as a fan of Rod I had to go along and check out the show. The older crowd of the New Wimbledon Theatre seemed to be with me on that thought as they sang along (sometimes too loudly), wearing their white paper ‘chip shop’ hats at the end of the show for ‘We Are Sailing’. It was like twenty OAP coach trips to the theatre but I can’t really moan about that can I!
The set was great and I was excited about whether this could be one of the few, good jukebox shows out there. All was going well until Satan appeared and switched weedy Stuart’s (Ben Heathcote) soul with that of his hero, Rod Stewart, so he could become more confident and finally confess his love to Mary (Jenna Lee-James).
This then left the real Rod Stewart acting slightly pathetic on tour and after he didn’t want his usual naked massage from several girls (queue the song Hot Legs) his manager Baby Jane (played by Tiffany Graves) left him, on a quest to seek out a younger, newer, Rod esq, rocker which of course she found in the shape of Stuart and immediately took him out on the road, leaving his new lover Mary behind.
Can they survive the long distance relationship or will Stuart get too big for his boots and forget about Mary? Is having the confidence of Rod Stewart really everything Stuart wants or will it lead to disaster?
The performances in the show were great. Jenna Lee-James rendition of ‘Reason To Believe’ showed an unexpected gravelly voice. I believe the rock phrase is that she ‘tore the song apart’. I Don’t Want To Talk About confirmed her talent as a performer. Tiffany Graves gave a great performance as Rod Stewarts old rocker manager and her renditions of ‘Baby Jane’ and ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ blew me away. Her performance also as Satan was good, although as a cringeworthy character in a bad story, there isn’t a great deal she could do to make it anything better. Ex Sugar Baby Jade Ewan gave an incredible performance of ‘What Am I Gonna Do’ as Dee Dee, showing that a pop stars voice can compete with those who have been doing musical theatre for their whole lives.
The story of Tonight’s The Night is weak and cringeworthy when they refer to Rod Stewart so often. I found myself thinking I would rather they all just stood on stage in nice clothes and performed a tribute concert of Rod Stewart songs. The vocal performances do make up for the lack of story somewhat but there is only so much that can be done.
I enjoyed the show for what it was. A touring production that will satisfy the needs of a different generation to west end audiences. Think Rock of Ages (with Rod Stewart music) and you get a pretty good idea of what this show is about.
Reviewed by West End Wilma