Vampires Rock: Ghost Train
Saturday 4 February 2017
4:00pm and 8:00pm
Mansfield Palace Theatre
OK, I will admit it, I may be slightly mad. Even Steve Steinman called me mad on Saturday night, so it must be true. Personally, I prefer the term ‘slightly eccentric’. However, John Evans called me a ‘star’ which I will also accept!
“Why would you go and see the same show twice in one day?” was the question I was most frequently asked by people in the week preceding Saturday 4 February 2017. My answer? 1. Because succinctly put, Vampires Rock: Ghost Train is an amazing production, full of rock gods and goddesses giving it their all for every performance, and 2, because with any Steve Steinman show, you will never see the exact same production twice.
What makes it different, I hear you ask. Surely, it’s the same lines, the same songs, and the same dances every single performance. Well, yes it is, but the thing that makes this show my favourite of all time is the way the actors on stage encourage and respond to audience participation, especially by Steve and John, the best bits being when the cast members completely lose it and just give into the giggles! For anyone who was at either show on Saturday, if I told you one show was memorable for a “waving lady” and another was memorable for “coo-eee” you immediately know which was which. I had tears streaming down my face from laughing so much.
For anyone who has not seen the show, Vampires Rock: Ghost Train is the sequel to Vampires Rock. Vampires Rock was told the story of Baron Von Rockular, living in Club Live and Let Die with his minion (Bosley) and vampire rock band, and the Baron was looking for a new wife. Enter Pandora Honey Box looking to become the new resident club singer. The Baron falls for (marries and then bites) Pandora and they live happily ever after. Oh no sorry, they live, until Van Halensing shows up, shoots the Baron, burns club Live and Let Die to the Ground and kills Pandora in the process.
100 years later, The Baron is resurrected and is living in his new home, the Ghost Train with Bosley and his vampire rock band. Enter Roxy Honeybox, a young lady who is the first to take a ride on the Ghost Train. You can probably figure out the rest of the show for yourself. Filled with fantastic 80’s rock songs, high energy dancing, it is a fantastic rock / theatre / part-pantomime production that everyone should see at least once.
I’ve been watching Vampires Rock since 2012, and I first saw Vampires Rock: Ghost Train in February 2016 towards the end of it’s first tour run, and I loved it. With several cast and band member changes for this tour, Steve promised an even better show this year and I will admit, I wondered how it could be improved. Well, Steve Steinman delivers on his promises. I saw this tour at the Nottingham Theatre Royal in October 2016 and was blown away by the whole show, but the Mansfield shows were on another level. I have never seen a bad show of Steve’s, infact I have never seen a show that has been anything less than amazing, and pretty soon we will run out of superlatives to describe it. It continues to get better and better every year.
When you see a production so many times you begin to notice the subtle differences between shows each year. The arrangement of how Shot Through The Heart and Dead Ringer For Love are sung this year are a massive improvement, Penny Johns’ incredible voice is a perfect match to her male counterparts. Victoria Jenkins takes the lead dancing and is simply mesmerising to watch. She has my favourite outfits on stage, and brings a sassiness to being a vampire.
Hayley Russell was brilliant as Pandora but she excels as Roxy, I love her characterisation and her vocal performance is stronger every year. I hope she continues to tour with Steve for a very long time. She has great comic timing that really comes across in her role as Roxy. Her version of Holding Out For A Hero, as good as the CD and DVD are, hearing it live is enough to give me goosebumps every time, and Died In Your Arms is a fantastic collaboration with Steve.
John Evans is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, not only is he great as Bosley, the always half-drunk janitor with the voice of a rock-star, he is also the stage manager and resident ‘feed the cast with sore throats honey-and-lemon during the performance’ guy. There is no end to his talents and he ALWAYS has plenty of time for fans who want autographs, selfies or a bit of a chat afterwards, no matter how shattered he is.
Niro Knox (Rhythm / Lead Guitar) Pete Jean (Drums), Andrew Preston (Keyboards) and Jamie Hiscox (Rhythm / Lead Guitar) are brilliant additions to the band this tour, as is Mary Garcia Garner who rocks the bass guitar as always. Although before he signed up for the show, Jamie Hiscox probably did not realise he would be in danger of being run over by a run-away dodgem cart on stage.
Finally, the man that brings it all together: Steve Steinman. He has a presence that commands the stage, far beyond what you would expect on a show that tours and does one night in each venue, he keeps the show fresh every year with little changes and additions to it but always finishes with Bat Out Of Hell in which you can see he gives it his all! May he continue to rock for years to come.
A review should look at the good and not so good of the show it is reviewing. I think I have more than covered the good, but what about the not so good? Well, in all truth there wasn’t any less than excellent part. The cast didn’t look tired at any part during the performance, there was no going through the motions at any point and it was a thoroughly entertaining and rock-tastic day out.
And the most important question – would I go see it again? As I sit here typing this review and listening to Steve Steinman Live (all merchandise available on their website, www.vampiresrock.com) I can confirm that my tickets are already booked for the premier of ICONIC THE SHOW at 7:30pm Friday 24th March 2017 at Mansfield Palace Theatre, and also for Vampires Rock Ghost Train at 8:00pm on Saturday 10th February 2018 at the same venue. I just hope another 4:00pm show is added on that date, I’ll wait for a sign from Pandora to let me know that there is and I’ll be there on the front row rocking away again!
Star rating - 10/10
Staying Gold since 2002