7-12 July 2014
Reviewed by Helen Jiggins
Tonight’s the Night is based on the music of Rod Stewart whose music releases cover the period from 1969 to 2013. This musical includes many of his classic tunes, including You’re in my Heart, Hot Legs, Baby Jane, Every Beat of my Heart and Sailing. Written by Ben Elton, this show stars Ben Heathcote as Stuart, an ordinary shy boy who dreams of being brave enough to declare his love. The main love interest, Mary, is played by Jenna Lee-James. The plot hangs on Stewart selling his soul to The Devil (played by Tiffany Graves) and receiving the soul of Rod Stewart. A special mention has to be made for Ricky Rojas, as Stoner, a character not-so-loosely based on Mick Jagger, who stole the scenes every time he appeared. The voices of Rosie Heath as Dee Dee (Mary’s best friend) and Andy Rees as Rocky (Stewart’s best friend) also deserve a mention, as they out-sang the leads by some way.
I have an issue with musicals based so tightly around a single artist/theme, in that they are often dreadfully contrived so that they sacrifice plot for tunes and Tonight’s the Night is no exception. In fact, it is a prime example of this genre. Don’t misunderstand me, there were plenty of die-hard Rod Stewart fans in the audience, I might go as far as to say, this is a show for Rod Stewart fans – and if you are one, are happy to wear the paper sailor hat provided, like waving your arms and know the lyrics, then this is the absolutely right show for you – if, however, you are slightly less enamoured, less certain of the man’s hits and may feel slightly “British” about outward demonstrative engagement like me, then you may find the experience slightly unsettling.
The very best bit (yes, despite the above there was one), was when a gay waiter corpsed mid-line and this sent the whole cast into a fit of unscripted giggles, which culminated in Ricky Rojas’ Stoner questioning (presumably ad lib) that his drink might have been spiked. It was my favourite moment of the whole show!
The show is running at the New Theatre Oxford from Monday 7th until Saturday 12th of July. The theatre is a ten minute walk from the train station, very central, suitably grand and staffed by lovely warm people. Although it wasn’t my cup of tea, it ended in triumph as the finale bought most of the audience to their feet, paper-hats and arms swaying, and they seemed to have had a wonderful time. As I said, fans of the man, Rod Stewart, will love this!
Tickets cost from £12.90 to £48.40 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Tonight’s the Night: The Rod Stewart Musical is at the New Theatre Oxford until 12 July 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3020.
New Theatre Oxford, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AG | 0844 871 3020