Bat Out Of Hell – UK Tour Review
Opening in 2017 to mixed reviews, Bat Out Of Hell is the larger than life, post-apocalyptic, loose retelling of Peter Pan – set to Jim Steinman’s epic music from Meatloaf’s album (ultimately a trilogy) of the same name. It’s impossible not to know much of the music, not least because this album (which launched Meatloaf) is one of the best selling rock albums of all time.
They’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it too. An incredible set uses live cameras and a big screen to move between areas and to give secondary angles to the action in what is a captivating, all-encompassing atmosphere that is almost immediately created.
Protagonist, Strat (Glenn Adamson), is leader of the ‘the lost’ – a group of reckless kids who will forever be 18 and he’s fallen hard for Raven (Martha Kirby) – the daughter of parents who have forgotten what it is like to be young and try everything to protect their daughter from the outside world. They pine for each other though, and continue to find each other.
The audience is given an immediate scene set as Raven delivers a stylistic monologue to set the scene (or at least the outrageousness of the scene) before the incredible rock music from the live orchestra begins with songs such as ‘All Revved Up With No Place To Go’ and ‘Wasted Youth’ as we meet the main characters.
The introductions to our characters are lewd and the overall theme of the show is to be outlandish and extreme.
One of the highlights of the show is the relationship between Raven’s parents – Falco (Rob Fowler) and Sloane (Sharon Sexton) and the rekindling of a dead romance with memories of how they used to be when they were young. On checking our review from 2017 in the West End, it was Fowler and Sexton in those roles when the show originally opened. Paradise by the Dashboard Light is an entertaining highlight but the pair are very much anchor characters within the show.
This sense of giving in to your desires is the overwhelming theme of the show and perhaps the edge which has got the musical (and perhaps Meatloaf’s music!) to such international recognition.
What the show does extremely well is perform the music that audiences know and love. The live band is outstanding and the overall sound is very well managed, never feeling too loud but the perfect level to enjoy these rock classics.
The story itself is basic, yet hard to follow – and the twisting array of lyrical poetry means that you can feel lost. Side stories/characters don’t get enough chance to connect with the audience and there are many missed moments, even through the main storylines which didn’t quite feel like it was enough for it to be a top, long lasting musical – even though it could be.
A very hard working cast does give their all though, and the vocal performances especially are outstanding. The overall production is huge and impressive and it is absolutely a musical that you’d want to see if you’re into your rock music and if you’re a fan of the era. There were fans in the auditorium who simply loved the show and the whole auditorium was stood immediately at the end. It is impossible not to be wowed by this huge production and effort of this magnitude really does deserve an audience so we would implore you to catch this stunning example of a musical which is pushing the boundaries whilst you can.
Bat Out Of Hell plays the Regent Theatre, Stoke until Saturday and tours nationwide until November – to book your tickets, click here…