TV fame can be fleeting, one minute you are all ‘tonight Mathew I’m going to be…’ next it’s ‘do you want fries with that?’ Not so for Steve Stienman, he managed to turn a three minute turn as Meatloaf on Stars in their eyes into a career that has been thundering along for nearly fifteen years, quite rightly so as his monsters do rock adult pantomime Vampire Rocks (now in its second incarnation as Vampire Rocks Ghost Train) is a triumph of classic rock anthems and side show spectacle.
The show returned to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre this week and clad in black I braved the flashing of fangs and the gallons of blood to catch Stienman and his merry band of bloodsuckers and climb aboard their rock n ghoul ghost train. The show tells the tale of Baron Von Rockula’s court of vampire crazies and the innocent schoolgirl Roxy Honey-Box’s fall into the dark side. It does not disappoint in sheer verve with its high energy blasts of live band classic rock and glam camp adult panto vibes.
As you can probably guess by the names alone, it’s very tongue in befanged cheek and those with sensibilities post the 1985 Bon Jovi video-esque might be a tad put off by its outmoded ‘sexy’ fishnets, basques and big haired aesthetic but hey the show is knowingly less ‘Shakespeare’ and more ‘Shake-your-ass’ so all is forgiven in regards to the less PC elements. It’s a juggernaut of a show from the get go, to the let go, seamlessly lurching as it does from blistering rock anthems from Kiss, Gun n’ Roses, AC DC, Alice Cooper, The Jovi and of course Meatloaf among many many others, to sideshow fire dancing, vampire mischief and laser precision on point comedy that had the audience in hysterics throughout.
All this was played amongst a painted backdrop filled set of horror film giants like Pennywise the clown from IT and Hellraiser’s Pinhead, the formers shark toothed mouth being the focus of the exit to the titular ghost train which once ridden is never forgotten it seems as young Roxy finds out to her peril. Roxy is exposed to the horror and (rocking) madness and immediately gets the taste for it despite the best efforts of the bemasked figure of Von Halen (I know, its a puntastic show).
The fun and music doesn’t let up for the whole length of the show and the cast and band look like they are having the time of their (un)lives, their energy is infectious and audience are on their feet by the time Von Halen is thwarted and Von Rockula and his band ride off on their ghost train to more musical mayhem, to be honest they are having such a good time that quite frankly I would have happily jumped on stage and joined them if I could, as it is all I can do is say ‘fangs’ for the memory… Stienman and crew are returning next month for another show filled with fist pumping classics called Iconic, this time they will be tapping a different vein, the silver screen for inspiration, with smash hits from the coolest movies ever the blurb says and after seeing Vampire Rocks Ghost Train I can only imagine its going to be a blast.
Vampires Rock Ghost Train is touring the country, hunt it down and stake your claim to a ticket. Steve Stienman’s Iconic hits the Grand Theatre on Sunday 26th of March.
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