Jim Steinman has been working on this show for the duration of my life. True Story. He spent every year I have been alive, honing, crafting, shaping and creating the spectacular Bat Out Of Hell. So many of his songs are like miniature operas and with that in mind, and with the departure of We Will Rock You, something was needed to shake London to its very foundations. I can confirm, folks, that rock, it does. It is a little longer than most outings to the West End, but the time flies past with reckless speed and abandon.
The centre of the story is not that unusual; defiant love combined with conceited youth. However, what makes this show rock as hard and fast as it does is the powerfully strong cast combined with lighting and staging and of course, the music. The use of effects is incredible, creating an illusion of a particularly vast space and the clever practice of allowing cameras to highlight specific areas of the stage. Slick and barely noticeable scene changes ensure that whilst your toes are tapping, you are in eager anticipation of what comes next. Succinctly put, a Harley roars to life and then it's time for you to hop on the back and make off into a dystopian way of life.
The cast works well together. It is a physically demanding show. Fight scenes sit tightly next to tender, loving scenes. Of particular note was the Paradise scene; comic interplay coming to the fore at all the right times. Much must be made of the size of the Coliseum, it is by no means an easy feat to belt out a powerful rock anthem so the folks in the higher seats can feel the beat together with feeling bathed in the aura of a good love song. Bat out of Hell was an incredible climax to an electric first Act.
Raven and Strat - the somewhat star-crossed lovers are played by Christina Bennington and Andrew Polec, with Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton in the roles of Falco and Sloane (Raven’s parents). This sublime quartet is splendidly supported by an astral cast including, amongst others, Tim Oxbrow, Giovanni Spano and Danielle Steers (whose performances of “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Dead Ringer for Love are particularly worthy of mention).
I would do anything to see this again, and I will do that.
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