Live reviews

Tonight's The Night [opening night] De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Part of a national tour, that for this week had stopped off in Leicester. "Tonight's the Night", a musical written by author Ben Elton tracks the story of Stuart Clutterbuck - the quiet, shy centre of this story, a guy so hung up and tongue tied, he can't even find the words to declare his true feelings to the girl of his dreams. Having read a number of Ben's previous books, I'm finding it hard to believe that a sadistic plot of murder and mayhem will not be at least a part of this show, but having been first introduced to Elton from his work on the Young One's and stand-ups from Saturday Live, I can at least figure that he may have returned to his roots when crafting the glitter and sequins of this rock musical.

Greeting an almost full house, the "Tonight's The Night" [overture] set up the proceedings for a show that would bring into full focus the music of Rod Stewart and as we were lead into the virtual world of Stuart Clutterbuck (played by Ryan Molloy) it went from great to truly magical. A set that at first created the illustion of the grease and grime of an auto workshop, where Clutterbuck lived a daydream of finding the confidence to confess his true feelings to Sweet Lady Mary (played by Rachel Tucker), when the two characters described their hidden affection for one another in a duet of "You're In My Heart". This early setting up of the story deepened as the geekish Clutterbuck embarked on a pact with the devil as he sold his soul with a female satin (played by Tiffany Graves), in a very suggestive bedroom scene, played out to the songs "Tonight's The Night" and "Tonight I'm Yours". I'm sure you get the picture.

If all of this is making your head spin, that was one thing that the show maintained throughout, the storyline coupled with the soundtrack of Stewart's songs tore through the well written and divised show. Great characterisations were portrayed by the superb cast of experienced actors, who were not not only able to represent the script with great ablity, but also sang and danced their way through the story with stunning ability. Of the characters we met this evening, personally there was none better than Stoner (played by spikey haired Jeff Edwards), portraying with great eloquance a worse for wear 'Keith Richards' character, fitting of John Sessions' portrayal in the BBC's Stella Street.

With two halves and numourous set changes, this had been a highly entertaining evening's entertainment. Whether you were a Rod Stewart fan, or someone with complete indifference at the prospect, this had been a modern classic. A show that had come across in the vein of 'Hot Stuff', a comparison I had heard made by two members of the audience, although these two views had opposing perspectives, make of that as you will. If you enjoy the music, or the comedy of Ben Elton, or better still both "Tonight's The Night" really was an excellent show from all perspectives, a place where song, dance and live music all found a place, with more than a dash of comedy on the side.

Nick James

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