Book, Music and Lyrics: Jim Steinman
Director: Jay Scheib
On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
It took almost 50 years for writer Jim Steinman to bring Bat Out of Hell to the stage and, since it’s 2017 premiere, the show has taken the world by storm (pausing only for a tiny pandemic based apocalypse of course). The futuristic reimagining of Peter Pan has landed in Bradford this week, telling the tale of a group of young anarchists, frozen forever at age 18 after the Chemical Wars. When Raven (Martha Kirby), daughter of the Head of State, Falco (Rob Fowler) meets leader of The Lost, Strat (Glenn Adamson) the two instantly fall for each other, and a dangerous love story begins, told through the instantly recognisable music made famous by the recently departed Meat Loaf.
Part schlocky B Movie, part jukebox musical theatre, Bat Out of Hell has its moments of hammy over acting, but the audience love it anyway. The sexual energy between the young leads is dynamite, and it is thoroughly believable that the two are head over heels for each other, especially in songs such as You Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth and Making Love Out of Nothing at All. Kirby gets to show off her pipes in Heaven Can Wait, and the frantic energy of Adamson keeps a ripple of electricity fizzing around both the stage and the auditorium, especially dying titular Bat Out of Hell.
The energy is doubled and sent back out by a fantastic ensemble cast, whose dance moves are second to none and who never fade into the background. Look out especially for Tink (Killian Thomas Lefevre) making his touring debut – he is going to go far in the industry! Stealing the show however must be Raven’s parents, Falco (Fowler) and Sloane (in this performance played by understudy Laura Johnson, stepping very ably into the stiletto heels of role originator Sharon Sexton, who has left the cast to give birth to the first Bat Out of Hell baby with the aforementioned Fowler). Their duets are fantastic to watch interact, especially in the more comic duets Paradise by the Dashboard Light and Who Needs The Young?. Johnson must be commended especially on how well she made the role her own, while still clearly paying homage to Sexton.
The whole show is wrapped off in a punk bow thanks to amazing costumes by Meentje Nielsen and Jon Bausor which will make the audience want to customise their own wardrobe as soon as they get home. Bausor’s set is an eye catching mesh of neon, grunge and live projected film. The only flaw in the night was some unfortunate mic feedback, which hopefully can be sorted for the rest of the run.
Overall, Bat Out of Hell has quickly become a must see musical. And don’t worry – the cast will invite you to do your own Meat Loaf impersonation when it all wraps up. Learn the words to Good Girls Go To Heaven and keep on rocking!
Runs until Saturday 11th June 2022.