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Sarah Crown
Theatre Correspondent
4:00 AM 8th June 2022
arts

What The Hell!

Rob Fowler as Falco giving his stage wife Sloane a Hellish time! - photo credit Specula
Rob Fowler as Falco giving his stage wife Sloane a Hellish time! - photo credit Specula
Shows do not come bigger, bolder or more brash than Bat Out Of Hell. Based on the songs of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman the jukebox musical is not just a run through of the songs from the three Bat Out Of Hell albums. The songs from the trilogy were always theatrical so it is no surprise that they translated well to the stage.

Set in a future world, the storyline centres around a group of youngsters called The Lost, who forever remain eighteen years old, which brought to mind the story of Peter Pan albeit in a musical setting.

Martha Kirby played a strong role as the innocent and at times rebellious Raven, the soon to be eighteen daughter of mother Sloane and father Falco. The comic timing between Sloane elegantly portrayed by Laura Johnson and Rob Fowler, the controlling dad was spot on.

The scene where the couple duet on top of a car performing Paradise By The Dashboard Light as they forcefully strip off down to their underwear was one of the highlights of the evening.

As a leading member of The Lost, Glenn Adamson as Strat was confident but not cocky which warmed me to his appearance. When he sang Bat Out Of Hell he totally owned the song which is not easy when performing such a notable and iconic number. Naturally Raven falls for Strat much to the disdain of her parents who try to contain the teenager.

The narrative got lost a little at times with the songs seeming to take centre stage. Meat Loaf songs were always based around the push and pull vocally between a man and a woman which continued throughout the musical - superbly demonstrated on Dead Ringer For Love performed by Joelle Moses as Zahara and James Chisholm as Jagwire. If you closed your eyes it almost felt like it was Meat Loaf and Cher, the original singers that you were hearing.

The appreciative audience were clapping along as soon as the opening refrains of the songs were teasingly played by the live band.

The choreography was energetic though sometimes it felt like it belonged more at a Lady GaGa concert than set against the Meat Loaf songs.

The dark and atmospheric lighting blended in well with the underworld of The Lost, with a stage set that appeared less cluttered than the earlier version of the show when it first opened in Manchester over five years ago.

Overall the show was altogether rapturous and a monumental triumph. Meat Loaf himself would have been proud.

Tour dates in the North

7th-11th June - Alhambra Theatre Bradford
5th -9th July - Blackpool Winter Gardens
26th July – 6th August - Newcastle Theatre Royal
13th – 24th September - Hull New Theatre
4th -15th October - Liverpool Empire

Original Yorkshire Times review: Sheffield Lyceum