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Theatre review

Tonight's The Night

Tonight's The Night

Playhouse, Edinburgh

Neil Cooper

When gravel-voiced blues singer Rod Stewart sold his soul for a life of pop excess accompanied by a roll-call of ever-blonder accessories, it's unlikely that the devil made him do it.

That's exactly what happens, however, to Stuart, the geeky hero of Ben Elton's jukebox musical of Rod the Mod's hits which has been on the go for a decade now.

Stuart works in a garage in Detroit, where he fawns over the equally bookish Mary. An intervention by a peroxided Satan not only gives Stuart the confidence and star quality of his namesake, but his promiscuous proclivities as well.

Taken under the wing of archetypal rock chick Baby Jane, Stuart and his new band blaze a trail to the top, but there's a little part of Stuart that's always the nice guy.

If all this sounds ever so slightly ridiculous, bear in mind that Elton probably knows his Goethe and his Marlowe as well as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore did when they reimagined their swinging sixties take on Faust in Bedazzled. In terms of the sort of rock and roll mythology depicted here, Elton will have also been fully versed in Robert Johnson and the Rolling Stones.

The parade of big-haired blondes, black leather pants and hot legs galore probably matter more in Caroline Jay Ranger's slickly one-dimensional production, and the big voices of Ben Heathcote's Stuart, Jenna Lee-James's Mary, Jade Ewen's Dee Dee and Tiffany Graves's dual turn as Satan and Baby Jane even more so.

Michael McKell hams things up deliciously as Stoner in a somewhat dated looking music business parable which at its best remains a thrustingly infectious romp.

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