Pass The Garlic The Vampires Are Coming!

Vampires Rock…Ghost Train

Theatre Severn

Thursday 24th January 2017

If you are a goth, or an old rocker or even a vampire then this is definitely the show for you. Steve Steinman is back with a continuation of his Vampire story and what a great show.

Framed  within a ghost train, the narrative to this spectacular was a little tongue in cheek. It was a real a slick vehicle for a fantastically active, bang on the money, totally rocking, rock band.

To set the scene we are lead into the old ghost train where the Baron has set up his home and was looking for a new bride. His last one was a very emaciated skelly bob sat in a dodgem. More of that later. Back to the story, so Baron wants bride,  a young girl goes on the train and ends up marrying the Baron. Of course there was so much more to the story but the quality of the musicianship, the characters and the vocals were what put this show way, way higher than others of this genre.

The secret was they oozed talent. The singers were really amazing and the musicianship was tight and thoroughly rehearsed. But what was key was  asking the audience for a long session of suspended disbelief, so the show could unfold and give everybody there a real treat. They made it look easy. Only when you see it done badly do you realise just how clever an achievment this is.

The band comprised Keys, Drum, Bass, rhythm and lead guitars. Split on various levels and the backline raised up on the scaffolding set. One thought that eyeline and communication might have been tough for the players but no, not a bit of it. These guys were together and so impeccably tight that often the  changes from song to song was exhilarating. The audience knew they were watching a top troupe  who really knew what they were doing.

The show had already won the eight hundred or so hearts that filled the auditorium, Then it went astronomical as Penny Johns sang Journey’s , Don’t stop Believing. She sure knocked that one out of the park.  It was an amazing rendition and Penny Johns career should be a glittering golden one. One hopes so anyway. She is amazing.

Hayley Russell also shone as the poor lost girl in the ghost train. Her voice was astonishing as was her version of, Holding out for a hero. She owned the song and the audience’s experience became even richer for it.

But what a band, strip away all the ephemera,  the lighting and the scaffolding set, the clothes and make up, and they would have still conquered. They played like they had been together for years and  if anyone was there to pick up the drop notes to take home in a bucket they would have gone home empty handed. Every played note was as it should be and all one could do was to marvel at the skills and musicianship of such a band.

There biggest secret was the bumbling Bossley. Played by John Evans,  he was just the hapless handyman that won the hearts of the easily fooled. However all of a sudden he sang Europe’s, Final Countdown, and although the other voices were amazing his was exceptional , I wasn’t sure about his blue pvc trunks over his leggings but he made up for it with his powerful and exciting vocal.

This is a great fun show, it is powerful, colourful , exciting and fun, with the emphasis on fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it knows that stripped down to basics it would still be brilliant.

I promised a little more on the skeleton. Well she looked like she needed a good meal and some clothes!

A great antidote for a miserable cold night in January. Excellent!

This is a Four Star review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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