London Theatre Review: Bat Out of Hell The Musical

Date Posted: 08/05/2018

GLT editor Keeley Rodgers describes herself as nothing less than all revved up after watching Bat Out of Hell The Musical, which has just returned to the West End.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a complete audience on their feet for a standing ovation. Neither can I recall being able to clamber onboard a Harley motorbike at the theatre, pretending I’m a full-blown rock chick.

But then again, Bat Out of Hell The Musical is far from your normal West End show and pushes boundaries you never even knew existed.

I wouldn't consider myself a diehard Meatloaf fan; there were plenty of those in the audience of course, complete with special t-shirts and the obligatory leathers. But after 180 minutes of exhilarating and jaw-dropping performances and spectacles, I was, what you might call, a real dead ringer for love – and everything else.   

Based on one of the most successful albums in history, Bat Out of Hell, the musical features the iconic hit songs by Meat Loaf including You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), I’d Do Anything for Love and of course, the title track Bat Out of Hell.

And unlike some shows, it doesn't peak too early. Just when you think you can’t hear a better vocal performance, or be wowed by a bigger spectacle, there are more to come; you're really taken from the frying pan into the fire.

The show opens with Strat (Andrew Polec), who rocks some envious eyeliner throughout, exploding on the stage and recalling as a child how he told his dad “you know I love you but you’ve got a helluva lot to learn about rock and roll”.

I’ll admit that it took a while for the plot to settle in and I had to double take to realise that the video we were watching on the big screen, and smaller TV screens at the side of the stage, was in fact being filmed 'live'. I won’t give too much away but needless to say it adds a very interesting dimension to the production.

It doesn't take long for the romance of rock n roll to come alive on stage as Strat, the forever young leader of the wild gang, The Lost, roams the streets of Obsidian, a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, ruled by the tyrannical Falco.

Strat sets out to rescue Falco’s daughter Raven, who has been locked away in the palace towers and what follows is a full throttle tale of teenage love, youthful rebellion and the rock and roll dream. Some 40 years after it was originally written, initially as a musical, Bat Out of Hell has come full circle, and then some.

To say there are too many outstanding vocal performances to mention is an injustice; my personal favourite has to be the powerhouse that is Danielle Steers (who plays Zahara). As her electric blue lips opened, her vocal prowess lifted the roof as she belted out Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad with the loveable Jagwire (Wayne Robinson). She oozed so much rock-chick sass throughout the whole show and managed to faultlessly dance around and move in some impressively high platform boots.

Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington return as Strat and Raven and thankfully so – the chemistry between them is truly electric; we needed cooling down at the end, no wonder there’s an actual pool on stage!

Their unbridled passion and youth makes for a stark contrast to Raven’s loveless parents Falco and Sloane (played perfectly by Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton) who were equal in their talent and performances. 

Their rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light was one of many highlights and added plenty of humour to an otherwise dramatic production, especially the car ‘crashing’ into the band on the edge of the stage.

Thankfully the band were unharmed and continued playing hit after hit; we didn’t want it to end.

The entire audience were on the feet when it did for a standing ovation; the first I’ve seen in a very long time. And there was even time for one more spectacle, but I won’t give a spoiler because you’ll want to see it for yourself.

No wonder Meat Loaf himself was overwhelmed when he saw the show at the London Coliseum premiere; Jim Steinman has achieved something spectacular that thankfully now even more people will be able to experience. All revved up and looking for somewhere to go? Bat Out of Hell will certainly get you fired up!

Groups can book tickets to see Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre in the West End until October 2018.

www.batoutofhellmusical.com

Main image: Danielle Steers as Zahara (front centre) with the cast of Bat Out of Hell. Photo credit: Specular.
 

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