Now I have a confession here, I am not a rock fan by any means, okay I love Meatloaf (another of Steinman’s shows, but that's a different review!), I can appreciate some rock songs but you would never get me along to a full blown, head banging rock concert, so I was very reluctant to be dragged along to a Vampires Rock show a few years ago by my husband. Tonight, I attended my third such show willingly and in fact have been looking forward to it. As I glanced around the audience I commented on how ordinary most appeared, not your usual rock fans at all, but I spoke to soon as it became evident that many had been to these shows before and I was delighted to have seated next to me four people in complete costumes emulating characters from the show.
It should be made compulsory to go along to at least one of Steve Steinman's epic productions as they are simply the greatest for an alternative evening of rock music at its best..... loud! With dancers wonderfully choreographed, pyrotechnics, fire eaters and aerial performers and of course the amazing Baron Von Rockula (Steve Steinman) and his 'faithful and loyal' side kick Bosley (John Evans) what more could you ask for? Well how about a fabulous band with drums, keys and incredibly talented guitarists? Yes, this show has it all and no matter how much Steinman tries to tell you "It's not a panto "the answer is "Oh yes it is! "(well slightly) but this similarity is self inflicted with the continuous banter going with the audience which adds to the fun and mayhem taking place. Steinman keeps it topical too with references to current X factor contestants.
This time Vampires Rock tells the tale of Baron Von Rockula and his Vampettes taking residence at a disused fairground attraction, the ghost train, where the virtuous Roxy Honey-Box (Hayley Russell) is lured to take a trip on the ride. The Baron needs a new virginal wife after the death of his beloved Pandora and Roxy is the perfect match. (Pandora features in this show but sadly no mention of her in the cast list, but she is certainly memorable!) His Vampettes set out to secure her for him and the loosely scripted story is told through classic songs such as 'Schools Out', 'Don't Stop Believing', 'Just Died in Your Arms', with a brilliant rendition of 'Shoot to Thrill' sung by guitarist Niro Knox. We are also introduced to the Barons hated enemy, Van Hell And Sing (I'm not sure that's how it is supposed to be spelt but it was pronounced that way and I'm assuming it's a play on Van Helsing the vampire hunter!) Taking us to the interval Steinman dedicates 'My Way' to his departed wife Pandora.
The second half heats up with pyrotechnics and flame eaters and even more classic songs 'Sweet Child of Mine', 'Shot Through The Heart', Tainted Love', 'Final Countdown' just a few to tempt you along. The vampettes are Chloe Bass, who is also the aerial artist, Penny Johns, has a leading vocals role and Victoria Johns on backing vocals. They are all wickedly seductive with their dance routines and have fabulous costumes to compliment. The backbone of the show has to be the band who take a backseat for most of it but definitely deliver. They feature on lead guitarist Jamie Hiscox, drums Pete Jean, the aforementioned guitarist/singer Niro Knox, Bass guitar Hell Mary, Mary 'Garcia' Garner, and Andy Preston on keyboards.
Evans, Russell and Johns are all fabulous singers and give great performances throughout the show and coupled with their acting skills they bring pure entertainment to the show. Steinman has a captivating presence on the stage, a hard and evil rock vampire he may be portraying but do not be fooled, he is a man with a wicked sense of humour, a talent for engaging with the audience, an amazing voice and charisma oozing alongside the blood drawn from those fangs! Produced, written and directed by Steinman Vampires Rock - Ghost Train will take you on an amazing journey which will have you booking a return seat! The show ended with everyone on their feet for about the last six songs and just had to feature Meatloaf's 'Bat Out Of Hell'.
This tour continues until March 2017 and for further details on the present show and more information: http://www.vampiresrock.com/ghost-train-tour-dates-2017/ A word of warning though, the show does contain some adult content and may not be suitable for younger audience members although there are no restrictions on sales of tickets.
Reviewer: Lorna Weekes
Reviewed: 26th November 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★★