Vampires Rock - Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Even Steve Steinman would have to admit that he’s an unlikely looking rock star.
The former trainee chef turned Manchester restaurateur, who first tasted fame 20 years ago as a winning Meat Loaf tribute on the much missed Stars In Their Eyes could easily pass off as Uncle Fester from the Addams Family – were it not for the fact that he packs theatres fronting shows such as this hugely successful compilation of classic rock songs.
The day will probably come when someone stages a touring show paying tribute to him, but in the meantime he’s making plenty of people happy with a production which is part Meat Loaf, part Rocky Horror, part pyrotechnic pomp rock and part an excuse to put scantily clad women in cages and make them dance provocatively .
Where Steinman’s concept succeeds is by linking some of rock’s darker lyrics originated by the likes of AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Alice Cooper and Jim Steinman (no relation) with a flimsy storyline of vampires and blood letting pitched somewhere between Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney’s 1996 cult cinema classic From Dusk Till Dawn and a Bram Stoker version of last weekend’s bizarre X Factor’s Halloween Special.
He also doesn’t spare the hearses, so to speak, in the big production approach – an impressive stage set, a top rock band (The Lost Boys – complete with its own guitar hero, the bicep bulging and pecks flexing Jordan Bracewell) and a good sound a light system which neither deafens nor blinds.
And it’s not just Steinman who reveals that appearances can be deceptive. A couple of years ago Hayley Russell was the prim and pretty leading lady of Cinderella at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion. Now she’s strutting and singing her stuff in fishnet tights with flowing rock chick blonde hair as Pandora, one of the great undead, holding her own alongside producer, director and writer Steinman’s Baron Von Rockula.
Next up, a revival of his Meatloaf Story. Watch this space.