Edinburgh Playhouse

25, July 2005 – Stephen Gray – Edinburgh Evening News

HEAVY METAL COMES WITH PLENTY OF IRONY

(Edinburgh Playhouse, Saturday 23rd July 2005)

It’s New York in 2030, and Baron von Rockula is on the hunt for a bride who will share eternity with him. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll vampire. She’s an innocent Carpenters fan. Could it possibly work? Steve Steinman’s Vampires Rock is a tongue-in-cheek ride through the high points of rock ‘n’ Roll and heavy metal from the past 40 years. Baron von Rockula, the befanged Steve Steinman, is looking for a performer for his band (The Hellbound Express) and for his bed. Pandora auditions in the full Plain Jane Superbrain outfit with a beautifully smokey Close To You. Pandora is transformed by the power of rock. Not only is she now on the dark side, but she also takes off her glasses and, yes, shakes out her hair. Finally the dream comes true as she strips off her stuffy secretary’s suit to reveal the sort of sexy number expected of a vampire’s bride.

Steinman is a brilliant frontman with the vocal range to suggest, though not mimic, the original singers. Richie Balbowa on guitar buried the stalls, already drowning in dry ice, under a rockfall of wailing chords before leading into Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine, the second half opener, and Tommy T Parratt on drums was a percussionist possessed, breaking a drumstick during one of his solos. Now that’s rock.

Over the course of the evening he plots a skilful course, drawing the audience ever inwards. And Bat Out of Hell, with the diabolical theme and Steinman’s background as creator and star of tribute show The Meat Loaf Story (a role Steinman has played for 15 years) makes perfect sense for the climax. It’s a delirious ten minutes of mayhem, and it’s doubtful that even Mr Loaf could have done it better. With the audience on its feet, the circle was bouncing and the aisles were full.

Steinman has created a show packed with energy and full blooded commitment. He has what must be the best job in the world- dressing up, belting out his favourite songs to thousands of people and making it look easy. Vampires Rock is one hell of a show.

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