Having seen this fantastic show a couple of years ago, I could well understand why the Grand Theatre was packed to the rafters on Saturday night. As the lights dimmed, thunderous applause emanated from the audience. However, there was a shock in store. Instead of opening with Steve in his role of Count Rockula, we were greeted by Bossley The Janitor (John Evans) who informed us that Steve Steinman had been rushed into hospital the previous day. But, in true showbiz style, he announced that “the show must go on.”
The show opened in the aptly named Club Live and Let Die with pyrotechnics and sultry dance moves, accompanied by very talented musicians. The laughter began when Bossley came onto the stage, wearing a tool belt and holding a suggestively placed vodka bottle. He joked about clearing up after the party and having to clean up body parts and blood, this led to the rock anthem Killer Queen, which was closely followed by the entrance of Pandora (Hayley Russell), hoping to audition for a job in the club. After a brief rendition of Close To You she was approached by the female vampires, who divested her of her dowdy hat and shapeless raincoat, revealing a long haired beauty. After dancing with them, she declared, “I think I’m in love!” signalling a guitarist. The conversation turned to Rock n Roll, a naïve Pandora asking “what is a rock star?” Upon being enlightened by Bossley, she declared that she wanted to be a rock star before launching into I Need a Hero. It became obvious that Bossley was enamoured with Pandora. His “why do I never get the girl, even when the boss isn’t here?” produced sympathetic ‘aahs’ from the audience.
The second act opened with fire-dancing, fire-eaters and fantastic rock music. This really had the wow factor. The shirtless guitarist probably raised the blood pressure of the ladies in the audience, it certainly did mine. As he produced blood from his mouth whilst playing Sweet Child Of Mine the audience leapt to its feet. He was briefly joined by Pandora, who then ran off, returning clad in a white robe. Bossley’s quip of “nice day for a white wedding” led to the song of the same name. Pandora, accompanied by two vampire bridesmaids, looked sexy but scared. Bossley presided as the vicar, pronouncing at the end “you may bite the bitch…kiss the bride”. After singing Let Me Sleep On It, Pandora began to look frightened again, mouthing “help me” to the audience. Her bridesmaids led her to a bed, before moving in to bite her. Exit timid Pandora, enter sexy vamp, complete with fangs.
Then it was time for the finale. Final Countdown/Jump had the entire audience on their feet, dancing and singing along to this and other anthems such as I Love Rock and Roll and Devil Gate Drive to name just two. I could actually feel the circle floor moving.
Jam packed with rock anthems, comedy and innuendo, this was a rip roaring, Rock n Roll romp. Despite the absence of Steve, the cast produced a fantastic show. Well done all of you and best wishes to Steve for a speedy recovery. I can’t wait to see your next production, Ghost Train.
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