Red Rock Diner at Stage West is a 50’s nostalgia trip with glimpses of Canadian broadcasting history that some may not be familiar with.
The musical begins with performing artist Ben Cookson making his debut for Stage West playing beloved Canadian radio show host in Vancouver B.C., during the late 1950’s, Red Robinson.
Throughout the first act of Red Rock Diner Cookson acted out short scenarios of what working at a radio station looked like, including singing and dancing to the records he was spinning, which was causing an uproar throughout the coastal city.
Robinson gained popularity in the Vancouver area from playing music that teenagers wanted to hear and dance to, including titles such as Rockin’ Robin, Little Star, Maybe Baby, Jailhouse Rock, Johnny B. Goode, and Stand By Me.
Cookson’s five co-stars would sing, dance, and act out every song, and every advertisement played, which enthralled the Calgary crowd.
Cheers, screams, and claps could be heard as Toronto native performer Carter Easler, who played the character Johnny sang a classic sprite advertisement in the spot light while his co-stars hid in the shadows on stage.
Throughout the duration of act one the crowed of approximately 250 people erupted with laughter, cheers, and even some cat calls to the point where the performers couldn’t be heard when performing artist Easler jumped out of a tub in the middle of the set singing the hit Splish Splash.
Robinson is known for his new school way of doing things in the broadcasting community, such as prank calls, having a goofy personality on the air, joking with callers, and for being the first radio show host to consistently play rock ‘n’ roll on the radio. Which earned him a lot of backlash in the beginning stages of his career.
Red Rock Diner related to the Calgary audience. By showing Robinson going through trials and tribulations in the beginning stages of his career, which is something we all are forced to go through. Many of the hurdles Robinson had to jump over are similar to the ones we go through in our everyday lives.
The second act took place during a high school talent show that Cookson’s character was hosting. The six performers sang a variety of songs that had the audience clapping too and bopping around in their seats too.
The final act ended with a game of musical chairs played by audience members who were ousted by their friends or dates for our entertainment.
Red Rock Diner is a unique experience, it’s a night out that is out of the ordinary. If you are looking for an excuse to get dressed up, and enjoy a night of singing, dancing, and clapping along to the songs you grew up listening to with friends or your partner, then this musical is for you.
The six performers did an excellent job of engaging the crowd throughout the night. The audience was completely engaged with the actors from listening to a Buddy Holly song that they once loved, to dancing with the performers on and off stage.
Early in the evening two men were asked by the female performers to dance on stage while they sang “A teenager in love,” the bright red cheeks of both men could be seen from the back seats, and the laughter of their spouses could be heard throughout the audience.
Red Rock Diner is a great option for friends looking to have a night out, people who want to hear the songs they grew up listening to, young children who haven’t heard an Elvis song yet, or couples looking for a date night that they haven’t done before in the city.
This musical is something different that Calgary offers to anyone who loves music, dancing, and laughing. Audiences won’t be disappointed with Red Rock Diner.