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January 26, 2014

Tonight's the Night! The Palace Manchester 24-01-14

Review by Kev Froggatt

posted by Mike Walton

I'd been looking forward to seeing this musical for some time so I was pleased to see it had arrived at the Palace. And what a treat! Firstly the Mrs had got centre seats 3 rows from the front then the show began right in our faces.

A brilliant montage of Rod/Faces hits to a story of rags to riches of a shy grease monkey in a car shop who swops his soul for that of Rod's. Many a one liner of Rod's songs stitched into the script eg. he could make me dance...sing....or ANYTHING! From the very talented and gorgeous Tiffany Graves as Satan/Baby Jane.

The whole cast were brilliant, notably Jenna Lee-James (Mary) whom I remember from We Will Rock You, Michael McKell's (Stoner) performance was hysterical as the Jaggeresque camp old rocker. Its hard to believe he played the psycho DC Nick Henshall in Emmerdale! Ben Heathcote, (Stuart) his vocals I thought were very much in line with our own Mr Stewart.

Jenna Lee-James (Mary) in my opinion did a very moving rendition of Reason to Believe, it even brought a tear to this old rockers eyes. As we know its such a beautiful song and to quote X factor she nailed it! Andy Rees (Rocky) did himself proud with his I dont Want To Talk About It, as did Jade Ewen (Dee Dee) on First Cut Is The Deepest.

On the down side though I couldn't help thinking why is it set in America? The part of Stuart by Ben Heathcote although he sang great his performance in my opinion did not work. The arms out wide every time he had a line was too much. At one point he tried to get the crowd clapping to Stay With Me and I must say he struggled, only a handful on the rows around us half halfheartedly bothered. When Michael McKell's Stoner, however looked at the audience and made a clap suggestion to Ooh La La everyone stood and clapped along such was his believable and warming performance. I loved the part where Stoner and Baby Jane nearly lost it in hysterics during the Hot Legs massage parlour scene!

The musicians/set were outstanding along with the choreography. We enjoyed the whole show it made us laugh, it made us cry it was well worth the trudge through Manchester on a very rainy night.

Review Kev Froggatt
Art work by Trevor Mill
Tiffany Graves photo by Rod Walton

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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