22nd January 2010 – This Is North Devon: Nick Wood
Vampires Rock, Queen’s Theatre, Barnstable
VAMPIRES Rock paid its second visit to the Queen’s Theatre and was enthusiastically attended by a full auditorium of ‘vampires’ and rock addicts alike. A show which has been touring more or less non stop for seven years now, is the product of Steve Steinman’s love of good rock songs.
Billed as a ‘concert fantasy’, a cast of vampires sang their way through two hours of well known rock anthems from the likes of Meatloaf, Rainbow, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro and Bonnie Tyler.
Steve Steinman held court majestically as the evil baron Von Rocular, owner of the Live And Let Die Night Club, where he holds an audition for a new singer. However, his evil intention is that having become bored with his wife of 2,000 years, he seeks to replace her with a younger model and encourage her to ‘lose her soul’ to rock and roll.
Produced, written and directed by Steinman, the restaurant owner come Stars In Their Eyes’ winner has achieved much in this production.
The cast used every level of an atmospheric and adaptable set which was playfully filled with cage dancers, pyrotechnics, wind machines and musicians. John Evans as the janitor provided comedy interludes, and looking like a cross between Emo Phillips and Jarvis Cocker, delivered lines of double entendres worthy of any Carry On film.
I enjoyed Emily Clark’s performance as the willing victim and heroine. She was certainly able to blast out emotive versions of Bonnie Tyler ballads, songs I had previously over looked in my teens.
But for me, the highlight, and reason I wanted to see this version of the show was the inclusion of Toyah Wilcox (above) as the Devil Queen. As a singer and an actress with a career that spans 30 years, I remember her performances in films like Quadrophenia and Derek Jarman’s Tempest. She has even acted with Lawrence Olivier.
She certainly enjoyed strutting her stuff in well-sculpted breast plates and tight leather cat suits topped with full feather or red-horned head dresses that were as risqué as they possibly could be. She joined in with the dancers and their choreographed movements demonstrating that you can only possibly be as young as you feel. She certainly exceeded my expectations.
It was an exhilarating evening’s entertainment and, while I confess, I did not know all the words to Bat Out Of Hell, the majority of the audience did. I did feel that the performances were toned down somewhat for the size of the venue and would work best in large arenas.
The band were outstanding, but I feel particular mention should go to Henry Bird the guitarist. He will soon feature in the lead role of the company’s next tour of a musical called Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom. This will come to the Queen’s Theatre in March. I will definitely be there.