Penned by Ben Elton and featuring over twenty classic Rod Stewart hits, Tonight’s The Night launches its eight month long UK tour in Manchester this week. Revamped and revived since its 2003 West End run and subsequent sell out tour, this all singing, all dancing and on occasions all thrusting production is here to spread some love and sprinkle Manchester audiences with a little bit of rock star quality.
Set initially in downtown Detroit, Tonight’s The Night tells the tale of shy but loveable Stu, (Ben Heathcote) who’s desperate to tell sweet and innocent Mary (Jenna Lee-James) just how much he loves her, something he’d never have a problem doing if he had the style and swagger of his hero, the one and only Rod Stewart. Alone in his bedroom contemplating just how pathetic his life really is we see Stu strike a deal with the Devil, trading his sad and sorry soul for Rod’s, it’s now that the fun really begins, does the rock and roll lifestyle fit with the innocent true love of your hometown sweetheart? Life is about to get complicated but luckily there are plenty of excellent crowd pleasing Rod Stewart classics to help us along the way!
Ben Heathcote makes an excellent Stu, his voice has the perfect rasp to take on the classics many of the audience clearly hold dear. His relationship with Mary (Jenna Lee-James) is well portrayed and believable. Jenna Lee-James gives a great performance, her voice is beautiful, belting out ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’ with such gusto that shouts of “Go on girl” can be heard from the audience.
Director Caroline Jay Ranger and Choreographer Denise Ranger have worked well together to create a slick production, scenes flow effortlessly into one another and there is some seriously sexy choreography that would get even the rockiest of rock stars hot under the collar. The cast are incredibly hard working and confident. Special mention goes to Michael McKell in his portrayal of ‘Stoner’ a Mick Jagger-esque rocker, who provides the audience with plenty of well received laughs. Former Sugababe Jade Ewen plays tough talking Dee Dee well and it’s refreshing to see a ‘name’ who can act and sing just as well as the rest of the cast.
The Rod loving audience lap up classic after classic and come Act 2 are signing along almost as loudly as our leads, Tonight’s The Night is a great fun show that’ll leave you feeling ‘Forever Young’ ……..sorry I couldn’t resist!
Tonight’s The Night, The Rod Stewart Musical, Palace Theatre, Manchester