Stuart longs to leave his humdrum job in Detroit’s Gasolene Alley and live the life of his idol, Rod Stewart. A bespectacled, easily put-upon young man, he looks completely out of place in the motor industry.
To make matters worse, he is so tongue-tied that he cannot find the courage to declare his love for Mary, the girl of his dreams. So the scene is set for Tonight’s The Night, Ben Elton’s Rod Stewart musical which is whipping up a storm at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal this week.
Stuart (Ben Heathcote) solves his problem – or thinks he does – when he makes a pact with the Devil, trading his soul for Rod’s. Character (and hair) change overnight but what Stuart does not realise is that Mary (Jenna Lee-James) was quite happy with the old Stu.
Add Dee Dee (Rosie Heath) and Rocky (Andy Rees) aching with unrequited love for Stu and Mary respectively, backed with energetic and talented dancers, and you have a story which is a cut above most musicals of this genre.
It gets better. On the road to LA, Stu/Rod meets up with Stoner (yes, Jagger and Keith Richard) hilariously played by Ricky Rojas, and agent, cum Satan, cum Maggie May Tiffany Graves. Elton’s wit ensures the script that crackles between songs.
But it really is all about the songs, some 25 of them which leaves plenty of scope for solo numbers from each of the principals, not least Stu. The audience love it – Maggie May, I Don’t Want to Talk About It, You Wear It Well, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and, inevitably in the finale, Sailing.
Of course, it all ends happily, as Stu finds out the hard way that you can’t find true love using another man’s moves and that devil or no devil there’s only one Rod.