Vampires Bat into Theatre Severn

Theatre Severn

Vampire’s Rock Ghost Train

Theatre Severn

25th January 2018

Well as the precursors to this show tells us, Steve Steinman has ramped up the vamp..more like ramped up the camp.  More of that later.  A pretty packed theatre had gathered to see how things had changed since we all saw them last in their Vampire Rock show.

Imagine the scene: The centre stage is filled with a clever bit of Scaffolding towers turned into the eponymous Ghost Train. Along the top is the keyboard player and bassist, mid-way down the scaffold we see a nest built so the drums and drummer can squeeze in comfortably, then stage level we have Lead and Rhythm Guitar and three female backing singers. They wereobviously going to be awhole load more than just backing singers.

The whole set is painted with garish challenging almost Artaudian images of fairs you should never attend, Vampires, Lythonrpes and the other gamut of beasties that we have all sometime or other fretted about as opposed, to sleeping the sleep of the gracious. The music was loud, the lighting was garish red, so apparent in its own theatre of cruelty. Costume gets five stars all on its own: Beautifully dressed all through, well done. So the scene was set. Not knowing yet if I was in for a real fright or just a good show, I and all others waited.

A late comer arrived, “Oh,” says the bald headed lead singer who had a voice akin to Meatloaf and looking as hard and as cruel as the night.. “Thas come, reet late,” he said in an accent that one would associate with George Formby or Peter Kay! The Lancashire lot were in.

The image was a little broken: From the setting it could have gone on and run in any direction. scary or otherwise. It was hearing the dialect of King Cotton that the whole thing told me we were in for a none too serious poke at the genre with a strong back line and some incredible vocalists.

And so it came to be. The lead singer Steve Steinman and his incredibly tight backing band blasted the playlist through Glam Rock/Stadium Rock classics, and the audience sung and joined in every word.

Steve was clearly playing to a partisan crowd as the applause that went up on his arrival on stage told one that this guy was expected to deliver something special. And he almost did. But they loved him first and foremost.

The break with character is funny but rather like an actor in a play corpsing, atmosphere and everything that one’s spends one’s money on in the way of setting, can be so profoundly spoiled and that’s a shame.

Wrapped in a fairly straight forward narrative, Baron Vampire wants a virgin, he finds one to marry but Van-Helsinger turns up to  ruin everyone’s day. It would be fair to say that one wasn’t on the edge of one’s seat waiting for the tense and terrifying conclusion, but the impression is one wasn’t meant to. The whole show was a fun framework for a very talented covers band.

The vocals were strong and had to be. The nature of the music calls for the vocal dexterity of David Coverdale, Patti Smith and Axl Rose, however the comedy element sometimes spoilt the atmosphere. The show is also a victim of its own vocalist’s strong voices. It was apparent there were Drama/Stage School trained voices and a trained voice like a powerful machine gun,  it needs controlling or it can utterly shoot the thing out of the water. One feels if they were to reign the voices in a little the thing would be all the better for it.

However this show is fun, it is offered in fun and received as such. For the full two hours the audience were eating out of their hands and forgiving their sometimes rather harsh, but nevertheless melodious offerings.

This Is  a Three Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

Section:

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.

Read More from Owen Lewis