Coliseum, London – until 22nd August
Let me start this review with a little confession – back in the 1980’s (yes I really am that old) I saw Meat Loaf in concert on more than one occasion. My favourite songs were – you guessed it – from Bat Out Of Hell. The second studio album from Meat Loaf and his first collaboration with composer Jim Steinman. Quite an unlikely admission from a theatre lovey as myself. So when Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell was announced as hitting the West End I knew I had to see it.
A romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland. Strat, the forever young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian.
I am going to be clear on this right from the very start. This is not your average musical, it’s the rocking theatrical event of 2017. It’s quite insanely bonkers but in the most wonderful way possible. With a simply stunning set (Jon Bausor), incredulous innovative ideas, with at least three jaw dropping stunts – it’s really hard sometimes to know where to look. It has more cheese than your local supermarket, some rightly dated choreography, that accompanies perfectly. Think “We Will Rock” catapulted into the stratosphere and then some!
This extraordinarily talented, adrenaline fuelled cast engages you for the best part of three hours. Its testament to this pumped ensemble that they had a full house standing ovation. It happened in one of the largest West End theatre’s, and apparently that wasn’t a one-off!
Newcomer Andrew Polec’s immense vocal power and obvious chemistry with wonderful leading lady Christina Bennington meant that it wasn’t just outside the Coliseum that was hot and steamy that night. Rob Fowler gave us his best “baddie” coupled with Sharon Sexton, their comic timing and play on words had us all laughing. Other noteworthy mentions must go to Danielle Steers, Dom Hartley-Harris, Giovanni Spanó, Aran MacRae and Patrick Sullivan. Direction by Jay Scheib is spot on, and keeps the energy levels high, both for the cast and the audience.
However it really is an ensemble piece, and all involved including all creatives and crew are to be celebrated. Special effects, water, fire and stunning lighting, means that this is truly a visual masterpiece. Numbers include Bat Out Of Hell, I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Dead Ringer For Love, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, For Crying Out Loud, Dead Ringer For Love and Paradise By The Dashboard Light. The orchestra played these numbers with gusto and brilliance, thanks to perfect orchestration by Steve Sidwell.
This theatrical event is one not to be missed. Whether you know anything about the music or just simply want to forget outside life for a few hours, then this is the show to see. As the person said next to me when the last beat was heard – “is the box office still open I’m booking again”. That I felt summarised my thoughts perfectly!