It seems extraordinary that Jim Steinman's rock album, Bat Out of Hell, made famous by Meatloaf (already musical royalty through his association with Rocky Horror Show) hasn't been a West End musical before now. Following the demise of We Will Rock You, London's rock-musical fans have been crying out for an epic and goodness, this certainly fills that need!
Let's focus on the staging, set within London Coliseum’s enormous stage the venue seems to be shedding its serious opera reputation in favour of classic musicals such as Sunset Boulevard and Carousel so it seems apt that this Rock opera with its soaring hits should end up on this large stage, with any intimate scenes aided by videography so the audience never misses out. There are some genuinely gasp-inducing moments that I won’t spoil, but which remind us that live theatre can still shock and awe.
There is a lot you don't want to miss; at 3 hours long, weaving 3 different love stories in this post-apocalyptic location. The Romeo and Juliet/Twilight-like plot of Raven (Christina Bennington) and Strat (Andrew Polec) requires both actors to have some top musical chops. Polec more than matched up to the vocal power of Meatloaf but he also reminded me of Tim Curry and I will be shocked if he doesn’t end up as Frank-N-Furter at some point.
The other plot lines involve Raven’s parents Sloane and Falco (Sharon Sexton and Rob Fowler), who counteract the songs about being young and in love (Teenager in Love, Dead Ringer for Love, Not Allowed to Love) with songs about days gone by (Who Needs the Young, Paradise by the Dashboard) and Danielle Steers and Dom Hartley-Harris as Zahara and Jagwire, who give a soulful rendition of songs such as Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad and Hartley-Harris, along with the rest of the cast performs a beautiful arrangement of Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are. In terms of songs, nothing is missed and Bat aficionados and novices alike will be pleased.
What is the story about? Who really cares? People are there to hear the songs and rock out to songs they love, the story is merely a vessel for Steinman’s hits from the Bat Out of Hell albums and other musicals such as Neverland and The Dream Engine and a cast full of stunning voices. It is a fun night out and flies by. There aren’t many shows like this anywhere and with its limited run be sure not to miss out.
Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.