Tonight's The Night (Tour - Manchester)
Tonight's The Night may contain a slim narrative but the cast work hard it make it sail on tour.
Tonight's The Night is another juke box musical, revamped from an earlier incarnation in 2003, to tour the UK.
This one is based on the huge back catalogue of music by Rod Stewart. While the songs in the production are 'on the money', unfortunately the plot does not wear it well - boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again saga. Writer Ben Elton has attempted to make a difference and the book is well written but is ultimately completely predictable.
However, despite the negatives it doesn't stop Tonight's The Night being an entertaining evening. Ben Heathcote as Stu, who sells his soul to the devil to gain Rod Stewart's confidence and therefore his girl, is excellent. He sings with a Stewart like rasp which is very effective. Jenna Lee-James as his love interest Mary is outstanding, visually sweet her voice rips through the auditorium leaving you breathless.
Their friends, Jade Ewen as Dee Dee and Andy Rees as Rocky, are both good but seem under used. Tiffany Graves is both Satan and Baby Jane and while her Baby Jane is excellent, unfortunately Satan seems to owe a lot to the modern version of Bedazzled.
The show is stolen though by Michael McKell's Stoner. An unholy mix of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Keith Moon, he swaggers around the stage, out-acting all those around him.
Director Caroline Jay Ranger and Choreographer Denise Ranger have worked hard to create a spectacle of a show, and they and the hard-working cast succeed, but in the end it is still let down by a lack of original story.
Tonight's the Night is at Manchester's Palace Theatre until 25 January and continues touring the UK until August.
- Helen Jones