This was our first outing into a social gathering setting since, well, y’know, the global apocalypse, and man alive I was excited! Even the walk up to The Opera House became exciting. As we approached, 30 Harley Davidsons drifted their way around the corner and formed a troupe in front of the Theatre. They sat there revving their machines, their emissions giving the air a petrol taste and and their communal roar deafening everyone nearby. It was AWESOME!
Bat Out Of Hell The Musical is, essentially, a love story. The main plot revolves around Strat and Raven and how they develop feelings about each other. If I’m honest, calling it a love story between two people doesn’t really do it justice, because there is a lot more going on than just two people falling in love. There is a side story of Ravens parents, Falco and Sloane, who have grown apart over the years and who want to control their daughter. There is another side story where Strat’s best friend, Tink, secretly loves Strat and the jealousy that arises because of Strat’s obsession with Raven. And another one where Jagwire woos Zahara, Ravens carer. It is more, a LOT more, than just a love story.
The main reason most people will go to watch Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, I’m sure, will be because of the reference to rock legends Jim Steinman and Meatloaf. The play is filled with songs from Meatloaf’s albums, most notably Bat Out Of Hell 1 and 2. Every song is performed live by members of the cast, and each performance earned rapturous applause from the audience.
The stage is very well designed and incredibly well used, with only incidental props being positioned on the stage to enhance certain scenes. You can see a large sewer pipe opening, rocky cliff edge overlooking the city and an area used as Ravens bedroom. One very clever element is that they used an onstage camera person who captured a lot of action close-up, and their live video feed was projected onto the onstage screen. During specific scenes large props are brought on stage by the cast – a motorcycle, a dining table or a settee.
Highlights for me were when Falco and Sloane performed Paradise By The Dashboard Light on top of a car, reaching it’s inevitable conclusion where they’re “Praying for the end of time”, and at the Musical climax Raven burst in, ripped the engine out of the car and threw it off the front of the stage. Absolutely genius way to break that fourth wall and almost kill the orchestra!
Another highlight was “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”, performed by Zahara and Jagwire. This genuinely gave me a massive punch in the feels. The choreography, the passion in the singing and the heartbreaking realisation that Zahara felt there would never be enough love between them. I don’t mind admitting I did tear-up a few times.
But the HUGE renditions of Bat Out Of Hell with Strat, and I’ll Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) between Strat/Raven, Falco/Sloane and Zahara/Jagwire were absolutely phenomenal. The audience, myself included, applauded and cheered so hard after these, it was deafening.
The only thing that left me disappointed out of the entire night was that I was sat next to a lady who ate their way through an entire box of Flying Saucers and didn’t offer me even one. I LOVE 80s sweets! I could not fault the actors on stage though. Absolutely superb performances from each and every cast member.
Bat Out Of Hell is at The Opera House in it’s spiritual home of Manchester until 2nd October, after which it embarks on a year long tour of the UK. All the dates can be found using the link below.
And you need to see it.