In the musical theatre world you usually know what you are getting when a musical is set around a pop artist’s work. Usually aimed at the fans of the artist in question this is usually involved a thin story linking the songs together with a minimal set and a ‘feel good’ focus that makes these shows appealing but not ground breaking. After seeing Bat out of Hell last night I can confirm this blats all my previous expectations for this style of show out of the water!
Bat out of Hell draws on the songs of Meatloaf to bring a high energy, rock and roll show which practically roars it’s way into the west end. Whilst the writing still isn’t anything that unexpected or new (it’s another basic love story) the outstanding production has rocked this show up to the top of the ‘must watch’ lists.
The set is grungy, industrial and all encompassing reaching into the audience space allowing them to feel involved in the action. Using impressive set prices, outstanding AV, and inspired special effects this is a show with some genuine jaw dropping moments. The digital projection and live action shots adds to the rock and roll feel and provide an ingenious way of getting around any sightline issues, allowing the whole audience to feel like they have a front row seat. Having camera operators in amongst the action shouldn’t work but in a show like this it does, and while at times you do have to fight your natural instinct to not have your attention drawn fully to the screens rather than the live action for the most part this is a fantastically executed idea and is blended into the scenery in ingenious ways. There is a lot going on here stage-wise but it is all moved in such a seamless way that it almost feels like a dance. It says a lot about a show when seeing a full sized car go careening off of the stage isn’t the most impressive thing you’ve seen!
Complementing this the lighting design is just the right balance between dramatic and subtle whilst the sound design is some of the best currently seen on the West End. It really draws you into the show and makes you feel a part of the action.
This is a cast brimming with talent and there are certainly no weak links to be found here. The only real negative is that the writing does lack a little heart but even if you aren’t a Meatloaf fan this show is worth the price of a ticket for the production alone.
I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by this show but I was, if Bat out of Hell doesn’t win awards for its sound, lighting, staging and AV I will be very surprised. It’s an atmospheric, attitude filed rock and roll show that is full of surprises, grab a ticket while you can! Bat out of Hell is currently booking until January 2019, tickets start from just £18 pick them up from the London Box Office website.
Tickets for this show were provided by London Box Office in return for a review, all words and opionons are my own.