Dominion Theatre, London – until 27 October 2018
Bat is well and truly back and at home in its new space: the Dominion Theatre. When I first saw this show back on its press night at the Coliseum I wasn’t the biggest fan. The performances were outstanding but the book itself really let it down. This time, however, I knew what to expect so was ready for a carefree night of relaxed, rocking fun.
Obviously, the story is still the same (although this time around it did feel less cheesy) but if you can overlook its short-comings you are destined to have an electric night. The show has matured a lot and it’s evident that work is continually being done to make it the best show it can be.
Jim Steinman’s rock musical is an electrifying rollercoaster of drama, lights, confetti, and so much more. Everything is thrown together to create a show that’s refreshing and really like nothing else currently in the West End. This show is a Romeo and Juliet-esque retelling of Peter Pan. With Strat, the leader of The Lost who’s frozen at aged 18, falling in love with Raven, the girl whose dad is the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian and doesn’t want her leaving the house, let alone mixing with The Lost. Bat Out of Hell is a wild ride from the opening moment to the final bows.
It’s not a stretch to say that the cast of this show is potentially the most talented currently on the West End. There is not a weak link throughout, with every member not only committing themselves fully to the show and looking as though they’re truly loving it, but showcasing their outstanding vocals and performing with enough vigour to make us feel as though we’re at a rock concert.
A search call might need to be put out for the roof of the Dominion because Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington’s voices completely blew it off last night. The two bounce off each other as if they’re electrical currents and their ridiculously powerful voices compliment each other beautifully. The pair are receiving high praise for Bat Out of Hell and I doubt it’s the only show they’ll be applauded for in the future- they’re definitely ones to watch!
Also vocally outstanding is Danielle Steers who once again received an audible gasp from the audience when she sung her first notes of Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad. Her voice is sexy, strong and oh-so-powerful; when she joins forces with Wayne Robinson (Jagwire) they create vocal bliss as well as working with each other wonderfully.
As Raven’s parents who are fighting to regain their spark, Sharon Sexton (Sloane) and Rob Fowler (Falco) are fantastic. Again they have voices to die for and are suitably wacky in their roles. The duets are stellar and they work fantastically as a pair to complement each other rather than over powering one another. Each of the leads truly command the stage but the ensemble also get a chance to shine, especially during Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are. Mention must go to Giovanni Spano, Patrick Sullivan and Vicki Manser who really caught my eye throughout.
If you were to search for the definition of Energetic, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cast of Bat Out of Hell popped up. Every ensemble moment is full-out and it’s amazing how many intricate details are woven in. This is one of those shows that you need to see several times just to pick up every detail; there’s action on every inch of space. The innovative use of live-camerawork throughout the show helps pick up these details very cleverly. The screens on either side of the stage and the use of vast projections allows the large space of the Dominion theatre to feel intimate whilst also adding to the futuristic, always being watched, vibe of the show. Jon Bausor has done a wonderful job creating this set and all the surprises included in it.
Patrick Woodroffee’s lighting is blinding and is just what you’d expect and need in a show like this, whilst Emma Portner’s choreography is suitably strange and futuristic, with the sharp movements adding to the frenetic energy on stage.
Everything about Bat Out of Hell is extra and excessive but that’s the charm and appeal of it. The story isn’t the focus; instead, we get to hear Jim Steinman’s rousing music and see it performed with a vigour and drive that seems unattainable for 8 shows a week. What’s special is that the cast do attain it and give 110% every show. If you like energetic, fast paced shows then For Crying Out Loud go and see Bat Out of Hell. Below all the lights and drama this is a show about love. From the audience reaction and instantaneous standing ovation when the last note was played, it’s clear that a lot of people love this show. I am definitely a Bat convert and thoroughly recommend you see and EXPERIENCE this show for yourself.