Review: Bat Out of Hell - at THE GOH
As one would expect, the auditorium of the GOH was packed to the rafters for the opening night of Bat Out of Hell though before we delve into the show it would be a crime not to mention the entourage of motorcycles that were circling the theatre prior, it really created such a pre show buzz and air of excitement, this spectacle alone couldn't have been easy to organise, bravo 👏
So what is Bat Out Of Hell about you ask? The name may have you thinking the story specifically follows Meatloaf as one of his most iconic hits and albums is entitled Bat Out Of Hell, which went on to sell in excess of 50 Million copies though in actual fact it’s nothing like that at all, let me fill you in on the premise!
Jim Steinman who composed Bat Out OF Hell with Meatloaf wrote this tale which using many of their most popular compositions/songs and is loosely based on the fairytale/story Peter Pan, set in the future, about a group called ‘The Lost’ who never grow old and are forever 18 due to a chemical war which mutated them.
The group is led by Strat (played by Glenn Adamson) is their leader who falls in love with Raven (played by Martha Kirby). However with Strat basically an outlaw and Raven practically a captive in her own home will their forbidden love ever flourish?
Adamson was everything and more, while watching I jotted down the following words to describe his character, Crazy, Outrageous, Possessed, Campy, Vampy, OTT, Iggy Pop-esque though Oddly Attractive lol, his voice was absolutely phenomenal and could easy carry a one man show which I would happily pay to see.
Kirby on the other hand was gentle with a rebellious streak, her voice was also incredible, in actual fact i honestly cannot fault a single voice, all full of power, rocking out before your eyes, which adds a real element of passion to a musical theatre performance. I wasn't surprised to read that Kirby had previously played Sandy in Grease as she had that sweet charm about her.
I lived for the sexual chemistry between Falco, Raven’s dad who also happens to be the dictator of the dystopian wasteland (played by Rob Fowler) and Raven’s mum, Sloane (played by award winning West End leading lady, Sharon Sexton). There were so many funny moments and what a dynamic voice both of them have. Look out for the scene and song between them “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”, it was hilarious! While celebrating their Daughter Ravens Birthday, they almost ended up doing the deed on stage, the table turned into a car which they gyrated on for ages, all I can say it Pink thongs and suspenders be prepared, it is eye popping comedy, I thought for a moment I was watching Rocky Horror. Oh also my fav line of the show was delivered by Sexton - “Look I’m a Lamp… Turn Me On” lol, her comedic timing and delivery had the audience in hysterics.
It terms of what tunes I could list more than a dozen that I was familiar with though the songs that stand just that bit above the rest for me were, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, 2 Out Of 3 Aint Bad, Real Dead Ringer For Love, I would Do Anything For Love, obviously the theme song Bat Out Of Hell, it blew the audience away and finally the ultimate ballad in my opinion It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, a Celine Dion classic that if I'm not his taken was co written by Meatloaf and Steinman then later Meatloaf went on to release his version, it was just a beautiful arrangement and storytelling between the 2 main couples. Saying that I've no doubt a different person's review will have varying favorites. That is the beauty of the show, it really was packed with classics and many tunes die hard fans will really appreciate.
Choreography was engaging, hi impact and eye catching, it is hard to describe the style though I would say it’s a futuristic mashup of lyrical and modern, dance fans/students will be impressed.
I loved how all the cast had an opportunity to show off their talents, whether it be in solo vocal sections, dance or acting. It was lovely to see all getting their time to shine.
The stage was realistically set up showcasing the two worlds, the Deep-end (where ‘The Lost’ lived) and the other Raven’s bedroom in ‘Falco Towers’ which is connected through a window. What made this show even more unique was the camera person on stage throughout projecting a live feed on the screen. I wasn't entirely sure of the thought process, though it did give the audience the opportunity to see two live scenes happening at the same time.
I must add having watched the show a few years ago in the West End I was prepared for changes to suit a tour though this wasn't the case, they really went all out to make it a real spectacle, with effects, cannons, lighting and so more - it needs to been seen to be appreciated.
Not sure if my senses and mind had me overthinking though it felt this futuristic world no longer followed old-fashioned heterosexual ideas as it insinuated couples were majority same sex especially at the end, Tink and Strat shared a sweet kiss then later proclaimed their love and how they are soulmates, there was also a kiss between one of the female Lost with Slone, this was really refreshing to see, LGBTQI+ watchers will likely pic up on this though as it was subtle I don't think many others did.
The show was over-the-top storytelling at its finest. I can easily say this has been one of the best nights I have had at the theater in a while and you simply must go and watch it. Show runs to Saturday 27th August at The Grand Opera House, tickets are available from goh.co.uk
Glenn Adamson (American Idiot) returns as Strat with Martha Kirby (Grease, Rags the Musical) as Raven and original leading cast members Rob Fowler (Mamma Mia!, Bat Out of Hell) as Falco and Sharon Sexton (Mamma Mia!, Bat Out of Hell) as Sloane, plus Killian Thomas Lefevre as Tink, Joelle Moses as Zahara, James Chisholm as Jagwire, Kellie Gnauck as Valkyrie, and Danny Whelan as Ledoux. Also in the cast are Laura Johnson as Kwaiden, Jamie Jukes as Markevitch, Rebecca Lafferty as Scherzzo, James Lowrie as Denym, Rory Maguire as Astroganger, Amy Matthews as Vilmos, Stacey Monahan as Moderna, Samuel Pope as Hoffman & Alternate Strat, Luke Street as Hollander, Leonardo Vieira as O’Dessasuite, Beth Woodcock as Spinotti and Jayme-Lee Zanoncelli as Goddesilla.
The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, original wig designs by Linda McKnight, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, original casting by David Grindrod CDG and UK Tour casting by Anne Vosser.