This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Bat Out of Hell at the invite of The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre Dave Massey spoke to Sharon Sexton and Rob Fowler about their roles in Bat Out of Hell The Musical. Listen below:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains domestic relationship threats, strong language, big hair and leather trousers.
Review: Bat Out of Hell at The Alexandra
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Steinman, Directed by Jay Scheib
Under a large American city lives Strat (Glenn Adamson) a young man who is destined to be eighteen years old forever. He lives with his fellow friends known as The Lost. In the city above lives Raven (Martha Kirby) who is herself turning eighteen. She lives with her parents: businessman Falco (Rob Fowler) and wife Sloane (Sharon Sexton). Raven begins a somewhat forbidden relationship with Strat in this Peter Pan/Lost Boys inspired rock fantasy musical.
That’s right, a Rock Fantasy Musical. I didn’t know the Meat Loaf album Bat Out of Hell plus its follow up albums were inspired and connected to the story of Peter Pan. I knew plenty of the hit songs on them which are featured here including I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That), Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are, and It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.
The static set is comprised of a sewer tunnel, a large screen for digital video and a huge glass wall which in we see Raven’s bedroom, neon strips creating the joists of the room. Beyond that at the top is a crane in the background and clouds and at the front of the broken stage is rocks and a gap in the stage exposing the orchestra pit. We don’t actually get invited into the room as we unusually follow the action from outside.
This is a broad exhilarating musical which both invites its audience into its world whilst keeping them at a slight arm’s length. Duality is a huge theme here, Strat and Falco are men at odds with each other from the start. Strat generally enters the stage from the left via the sewer (the left is usually the hero side) and Falco mostly enters from the right (the villain side). Strat’s budding relationship with Raven mirrors Falco’s relationship with Sloane.
Martha Kirby’s Raven is vulnerable and adventurous, Glenn Adamson has the full Peter Pan attitude whilst looking like the lead singer in a rock band, Rob Fowler as the corporate parent, presents an unhinged controlling character who is ultimately lost himself and Sharon Sexton’s Sloane is desperate for her own adventures and freedom while she self medicates with the demon drink. There is great support from characters including Killian Thomas Lefevre as Tink, Strat’s angry young friend, Joelle Moses as one of the lost living a double life as a family nurse. There are so many great vocal performances here that it is difficult to pick one from the company and the audience lapped up every single lyric which most of them knew.
Lighting and sound play key roles here too, the foreboding soundscape that the audience encounters sets the dark tone immediately. and the neon lighting gives way to primary colours as Raven leaves her father’s artificial world of corporate business and experiences something she considers real with Strat.
Raven’s bedroom towards the rear of the stage is a four-walled room with mirrored windows, a videographer films these moments and they are projected onto the huge screen opposite, they feature domestic threats involving weapons and make us feel close up to the story at the same time we feel distanced.
This is a musical that thrives on using familiar ideas, influences and concepts and brings them into something brand new. Influences I spotted include, Beauty and the Beast (The TV Show which is part set in sewers, and the classic folk tale), Romeo and Juliet, Heathers, Alice in Wonderland, Grease, The Rocky Horror Show, Annie, The Bible! and Rock of Ages.
Rightfully, this show received a huge standing ovation with Rob Fowler’s opening night speech reminding the audience that live theatre is back being a really important moment.
A dreamy rock fantasy that offers a 2022 audience two hours and forty minutes (including interval) of much needed pure escapism. Bat Out of Hell is at The Alexandra until 15th January 2022. The UK and Ireland tour currently continues until 5th November 2022. Find out more here: batoutofhellmusical.com/uk-tour