Cards on the table. I am a passionate Bat out of Hell fan. From teenage angst right up to my current loud, middle aged kitchen discos, the album has always been there to escort me through life.
Let me be clear, when I say ‘the album’ I mean the original album which will be joining me on my ‘Desert Island’. My husband is also a fan. I could not have married him had it not been so.
This 40 year love affair means that, after seeing Bat out of Hell – The Musical, I shall be writing one of two reviews.
1) An utterly fabulous evening stomping through the best songs that have ever been written with a phenomenal cast and a superb sound system.
2) An eye-wateringly cheesy rock musical murdering the songs that I love.
Which would it be?
A little research revealed that nominations and awards abound, including ‘Best Musical’ ‘Best Lighting Design’ and ‘Best Use of Audio Solutions’. Apparently, it is a rather good night out. We shall see.
And then it begins before we are even ready as 20 fantastically loud Harleys ride past us, theatre staff are clad in the absolute best caricature of biker chic.’The machine’ resonates dully through the auditorium while we watch the young hang out on stage, waiting. Immersive theatre tools are being used to bring us into the Bat out of Hell world.
Very old adults and very young adults make up the audience. My kind of show, I think.
Boom! The show starts as intended, leaving you absolutely nowhere to run – the classic, disenfranchised youth leading the all powerful middle-aged to redemption story-line verged tantalisingly close to cheesy but never quite crossed the line, Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s music telling the story better than prose ever could.
The set and the lighting were exceptional and the sound system would impress any rock fan. My husband commented that he couldn’t watch everything at the same time. Sensory overload for someone who does not get out very often.
Dear lord these actors can sing! Passionate, human, real and very loud, proper rock music, people.
Kellie Gnauck turned the historical male domination of these songs on it’s head brilliantly. Bat out of Hell, the centre piece of the evening, was nailed by Glenn Adamson while Joelle Moses and James Chisholm conquered the song ‘Two out of Three’. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton added a light touch of sadness and a huge dollop of humour.
Live music, Live singing. Live audience. The holy trinity. Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical was a blisteringly good stomp through my youth.
So come and see this musical if you like rock, music, musicals, escapism or if you simply have an open mind. If you don’t, don’t come. We don’t want you there.
Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical runs at Oxford’s New Theatre until Saturday. Go to https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/bat-out-of-hell/new-theatre-oxford/