Plymouth Herald

Originally Published: December 03, 2009

Theatre of the macabre

LIKE your very worst nightmare, shock rocker Alice Cooper's Theatre of Death rolled into town on Wednesday, promising all manner of gore and gruesomeness.

And it didn't disappoint. Before the fourth song was out Alice, in one of his weird alter egos, had already garrotted someone with a pole and, having been shoved in a straight jacket, paid the ultimate price as an impressive guillotine appeared to lop off his head.

It was the first of four major misdemeanours and subsequent fatal punishments; Alice's alter ego may be some sort of weird psychopath, but the show always has an extremely moral message. Throughout the rest of the proceedings Alice was to be hanged from a gallows – very convincing indeed – received some sort of lethal injection from a scantily clad nurse and was skewered in a box full of giant nails.

Is there no end to the man's macabre inventiveness?

This was, of course, pure rock theatre, tongue planted firmly in cheek. And very entertaining it was too, augmented by a stunning light show, dry ice atmospherics and plenty of imaginative costume changes, best of all being Alice's metallic silver suit and top hat, saved for the encore.

The soundtrack flowed seamlessly from track to track with little pause for applause – any inter-song banter would have broken the spell – encompassing most of the greatest hits along the way. From his crowd-pleasing breakthrough stomper Eighteen, to the rather less lovable Vengence is Mine from his latest offering, last year's Along Came A Spider – which he presented from the top of a makeshift pulpit in a specially designed jacket featuring eight spidery arms – we had them all. Well nearly.

To the clear delight of the crowd, Schools Out both opened and closed the show, giving us plenty of opportunity to bellow along at the tops of our voices, as did raunchy renditions of No More Mr Nice Guy, Welcome to My Nightmare and Poison, the highlight song of the night.

Super svelt and in very fine voice throughout, Alice at sixty-something was in tip top form, as were his snake-hipped, leather-clad axemen.

This was a fun theatrical spectacle from the ultimate showman that more than lived up to expectations.

(Originally appeared online at the This Is Plymouth website on the 3rd December 2009)