Tonight’s The Night at the New Wimbledon
Undoubtedly Rod Stewart’s vast collection of hits, along with his high-octane style, allow him to fit seamlessly into the musical mould. Complementing the musical numbers in this theatrical tribute is a steady and simple Faustian narrative that evolves around a shy ordinary man called Stuart, who ends up making a pact with the devil to assume all the talent and charisma of his rock n roll hero: Rod Stewart.
Through this narrative focus the musical ventures into parodying rock n roll lifestyle and its central tenet: the selling of one’s soul to the devil to succeed. The opening musical numbers in Act I, as Stuart undergoes a rapid transformation from the shy, insecure, meek little man of the Chicago back-alley, to a fully-fledged cock-strutting rock n roll star with the bravado of Stewart, are quite hilarious. It should be noted that one of the star performances of the night comes from actor Michael McKell, who makes a great comic character from which most of the hilarity emanates, as sleazy Cockney bandmate Stoner. The opening half-hour is definitely the most memorable in terms of everything on show, from the music to the acting, as the numbers rolled along smoothly – from the coming-of-age synthpop classic Young Turks to the slower and funkier Tonight’s The Night.
As the musical progresses the narrative grows somewhat tiresome, and by the end of the performance it slightly drags its feet over a long crescendo to the power ballad Sailing. During the song the audience donned their white sailing caps, handed out during the intermission, and started a collective sway from side to side. Despite this dip, Tonight’s The Night is on the whole a thoroughly enjoyable, light-hearted – and rather racy – musical.
Tonight’s the Night is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 22nd March 2014, for further information or to book visit here.