Bat Out of Hell (UK Tour): Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
22nd February 2022
Featuring songs from one of the most iconic and successful albums of all time, Bat Out of Hell, this critically acclaimed musical is now embarking on a major UK Tour. The late Jim Steinman wrote the book, music and lyrics which were made famous by Meatloaf who sadly passed away last month. Bat Out of Hell gathered a huge following during its run in London and is sure to be a hit with fans as it tours the UK.
The set and staging of this modern show is a true spectacle. The multi-levelled set designed by Jon Bausor is detailed and unique. This production has certainly not cut costs when it comes to the set and staging and this could well be one of the most technical and modern sets currently on tour in the UK. The transitions between scenes are smooth and cleverly designed so there is no wasted time. The show uses live video camera moments throughout the show which is broadcast onto a large backdrop. Whilst this is an unusual approach and does not seem to particularly add anything to the show it does allow the audience to see the Falco family up close.
The cast are all excellent in their roles. Glenn Adamson’s Strat is every bit rock and roll that you would expect. He has strong, powerful vocals and whilst Strat is clearly an extrovert he manages to portray the character without being too over the top. ‘Bat Out of Hell‘ and ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)‘ are both showstopper performances from all. Adamson’s relationships with other characters, in particular the Lost and Raven is very good. Martha Kirby’s vocals impress as Raven, especially during the song ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now‘ and she plays the young, hopeful teen desperate to leave her parents clutches very well. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton’s chemistry onstage as Falco and Sloane is perfect for the love/hate couple. A special mention must also be given to Sexton’s performance which was outstanding given that she has just recovered from Covid and is currently almost 6 months pregnant. James Chisholm and Joelle Moses, another couple in the show, also demonstrated good chemistry onstage and their vocals matched extremely well.
From a technical perspective this production is top-notch. The lighting, designed by Patrick Woodroffe, is fantastic and completely adds to its rock concert style – one thing to note though is the use of flashing and strobe lighting which may be hard for some audience members. The costumes by Jon Bausor and Meentje Nielsen, are just what you would expect from a Rock’n’Roll show, which each character having their own unique style. Emma Portner’s choreography is energetic, fun and innovative. Every cast member performs the complicated dance moves with conviction and passion. The modern choreography, which draws inspiration from a fusion of dance styles, works effortlessly with the show and adds to the staging of the songs.
The storyline of Bat Out of Hell is fairly simple – young girl falls for the tearaway boy whilst father does not agree. Some of the script and staging does make this production slightly confusing. The use of the onstage camera does not add anything to the show and Raven’s poetry style of script can be hard to follow. However, the musical numbers, which lets face it are what most audience members will be attending for, are absolutely excellent and worthy of an arena tour! Bat Out of Hell pulls out all the stops and doesn’t hold back. If you are looking to hear fantastic rock music performed by an outstanding cast then this is the show for you. Perhaps don’t look too deeply into the storyline and instead sit back for an evening of rock and roll.
Bat Out of Hell is playing at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until Saturday 26th February. For tickets click here. It is then continuing its UK Tour until October 2022, for information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Chris Davies