- Adam Bloodworth
- 13 August 2019
Unimaginative rock 'n' roll musical
If there's one rule to abide by in creative circles, it's to not publicly criticise the work of other creatives. Leave that to the critics. It's a rule that Rock Idle blithely ignores. The show opens with a monologue lambasting all modern music, calling it 'repetitive nonsense'. Then lead man Marshall Stax declares: 'We all used to write great songs, now it's just one line on repeat.'
It's ironic that he follows that with an often repeated but terrible joke – 'they say nostalgia's not what it used to be'. There's a murmur of faint polite laughter but even the small but dedicated crowd of rock music fans aren't warming up fast enough. The format of the show is basically that Marshall – it's never clear who Marshall actually is, but one audience member suggests perhaps he's the human embodiment of an amplifier – reminisces on all the huge stars he has worked with over the years. He's jammed with Johnny Cash and opened for Dean Martin and spent the night in bed with Jerry Hall.
Actor Linton Osborne, who was formerly a vocalist in the rock band Nazareth, has made a show out of these bizarre, sometimes titillating one-liners from the ultimate rock star life. His anecdotes are occasionally interesting and sometimes funny, but the format quickly becomes tedious and is ruined by casual sexist remarks; at one point, Marshall swigs from a bottle of straight vodka and says he does that to make his wife look better.
A proper musician with a credible back catalogue, Osborne intersperses the show with three or four songs, which reward the audience with what they ultimately are here to see: a rock star singing rock songs, not exploiting his minor celebrity to put on a show that isn't fantastical enough to be transportative, nor rooted in reality enough to actually dish the dirt on celebrities. Rock Idle feels like an ode to toxic masculinity.
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, run ended.