Blackpool opera House – until 9 July 2022
Reviewed by Debra Skelton
Bat Out of Hell the Musical makes no bones about what it wants to be: a spectacular two hours of escapism. By staying just the right side of pretentious, and with a nod and wink to the audience and excellent performances, it pulls it off triumphantly
In truth, it’s smashing stuff, right up there with We Will Rock You for sheer energy, a cracking soundtrack – and a story that is, in all honesty, a distant second to the music.
Now in its 5th year, and now more poignantly as we lost both Jim Steinman (2021) and Meatloaf (2022), this show continues to find new fans to join with the die hard ‘Loafers’. Producer Michael Cohl said of the tour: “We’ve all been through a lot these past 15 months and we now need a really good night out with friends and family. Bat Out Of Hell will give you the most fun night you can have in the UK and Ireland this year (with your clothes on)!
Set in the post-apocalyptic fictional city of Obsidian (a comic book-like Manhattan) in the year 2030 after the “chemical wars” that have rendered a select group of teenage street people mutants, forever frozen at age 18, Strat (Glenn Adamson – American Idiot), the leader of these co-ed “lost boys” dubbed “the lost”, falls for Raven (Martha Kirby – Grease), the Rapunzel-like daughter of the teens’ foe Falco (Rob Fowler), a “tyrannical leader”, and his unsatisfied housewife, Sloane (Franziska Schuster).
Tink (Killian Thomas Lefevre), our Tinkerbell, a jealous tween in love with Strat; Zahara (Joel Moses) one of “the lost” with a day job as Falco and Sloane’s maid; and Jagwire (James Chisolm), her unrequited lover, all nonsensically figure in the story reverse-engineered, “Mamma Mia!”-style, for the purpose of using as many beloved rock anthems from the “Bat Out of Hell” albums as possible.
The silver lining of “Bat Out of Hell” is that the cast is superbly talented and the music sounds incredible—the duet “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” is a highlight—performed with an explosive energy that rocks the auditorium.
At the end of the day, that is this musical’s raison d’etre: to give fans of the albums a chance to hear the songs they love performed well within the loose framework of a story in line with its musical aesthetic and sensibility. On this mark, “Bat Out of Hell” knocks it out of the park. The standing ovation at the end was testament to the genuine joy this show brings.