Space Theatre, Sat 18 June
Multi-award winning performer, writer and producer Toby Francis is a fantastic singer and his show, about one of the greatest rock and roll composers of our time, really works the terrific strength, range and purity of his voice through the dramatic powerhouse songs that are the trade mark of Jim Steinman.
With the marvellous Andrew Warboys on piano, backing vocals, voice of Hook and musical direction, Toby as Jim Steinman takes the stage and opens with a great monologue and then smashes Bat Out Of Hell, the timeless title track from the album made famous by Meatloaf.
The narrative tells of Steinman’s struggle for recognition for his hugely famous compositions after the success of Bat Out Of Hell. With Meatloaf taking the glory and the gold, Jim consoles himself working on his pet project, a rock opera titled Neverland based on the Peter Pan story. Set in 1984, Neverland is New York, and the Lost Boys are a street gang, the Morgans with Hook and Smee, are bikies, and Tinkerbell is a bad-girl with a good heart. Josie Lane fits the bill fabulously with gutsy vocals and raw presence for the Tink and Wendy roles.
With simple backdrop projections and some rhythm section back-tracking to broaden the theatrical scope and fatten the musical effect, this exemplary trio delivers the goods in a full-blown, non-stop, mash-up of excellent musical theatre and hot rock and roll at its roaring best, smoke machine and wild lighting included.
The songs are all über dramatic and over the top, and we love it that way! With Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, Total Eclipse Of The Heart, It’s All Coming Back To Me and more, it was hugely satisfying and jam-packed good value show, with no gaps. In fact, that is one of my only criticisms; that there were no breaks throughout the seamless narrative to applaud the great songs, robbing the audience of the chance to participate by showing their appreciation. We had to keep a lid on our energy rather than hoot and holler, as rock and roll audiences love to do. This made it a theatre show rather than cabaret, as there was no direct connection the audience.
The encore of Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth was icing on the cake though and this is an exciting and memorable show.
Love and Death – The Songs Of Jim Steinman continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 8pm on Sun 19 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Kurt Sneddon
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