REVIEW: Tonight’s the Night, Sunderland Empire

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DESPITE the underwhelming plot of Tonight’s the Night, you can’t leave the performance without humming a Rod Stewart tune.

The West End Musical, written by Ben Elton, sees shy protagonist Stuart (Ben Heathcote) make a deal with the devil and steal the Scottish singer’s soul, thus turning his world upside down.

Full of clichés about the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, the musical pays homage to award-winning musician Rod, harking back to his love of leggy blondes, and a 45-year career.

Slightly ironic in parts, the comedy in the show receives a few titters from the audience, but no raucous laughter, despite this being a light-hearted affair.

The lukewarm tale is improved partly by the no-expense-spared set of the West End musical, but mostly by the cast.

Former Sugababe Jade Ewen, in the role of Dee Dee, reveals an impressive voice. Her shining moment is during a powerful solo performance of The First Cut is the Deepest.

And though his character is a little irritating, with his conflicting morals and rock ‘n’ soul, leading man Ben takes off Rod’s gravel voice well in every song.

The show boasts a 25-song set list including well known hits Maggie May and show title song Tonight’s the Night.

It is rounded off with a performance of I Am Sailing for which audience members are given a paper sailor hat. The participation is popular, as the hats stay on while the audience get to its feet for the encore megamix of tunes.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a die-hard Rod Stewart fan to enjoy Tonight’s The Night, though it seems to help.

Those giving the standing ovation at the end of the musical were those who were singing the loudest to all the songs.