“On a hot summer’s night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”
Bat out of Hell | London Coliseum | Review
Well no I wouldn’t, but I would spend an evening in the beautiful London Coliseum to see the spectacular Bat out of Hell musical, on what was the hottest day in London in June for 41 years, and it was the show that really heated things up, quite literally in fact.
With the roar of the chopper’s engine, fire erupted from the stage during the ‘Bat out of Hell’ number, with powerhouse vocalists, dazzling choreography and stunning visual effects that left the senses running wild like the rebellious youth themselves.
The storyline is simple, yet effective. The year is 2100, and The Lost are cursed to remain 18 years of age forever (tough life) and are forced to live in the underground by a man named Falco, a multi-millionaire who owns the land and wants full control of everything. Little does he know that his good-girl daughter Raven has fallen in love with the leader of The Lost named Strat, who intends to steal her on her eighteenth birthday.
The drama is centered around this rebellious young love story, and the struggles of Falco’s marriage to Sloane, the pair are left reminiscing on the good old days that are way behind them. One is a passionate fantasy, whilst the other is a bleak and bland arrangement, fueling Falco’s jealousy and hatred of the eternally young. The couple’s ravenous rendition of ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ set around a revolving convertible was one of the best scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.
Jim Steinman has always been a fine craftsman when it comes to writing songs, and the Bat out of Hell trilogy evokes strong images from the lyrics’ deep storylines which makes them a pleasure to listen to, let alone experience on stage. This is a must see for any Meatloaf fan.
The 32 strong cast members do the albums full justice with incredible vocals, and although it would be easy to say the leading characters steal the show with some standout performances, the entire company amalgamate together to produce an incredible soundtrack.
Andrew Polec plays the wild haired Strat to perfection, his crazed eyes full of passion in an energetic performance that captivated the audience. Christina Bennington captured the short-lived innocence and suppressed rebellious nature of Raven well, with her performance of “All Coming Back To Me Now” genuinely leaving me in awe. Rob Fowler as Falco struck the fine balance of portraying a character that you’re supposed to hate but you can’t help but love, with an irreverent charm and irresistibly powerful voice. Sharon Sexton arguably stole the show as Sloane, as she fuses the roles of a responsible parent with her own rebellious desires, she warms the audience with a mixture of addictively dry humour and sincerity that is a joy to watch.
From a creative perspective Set and Costume Designer Jon Bausor has produced an incredible dystopian future world, it is visual splendor with choppers, cars, graffiti and smoke, the contrast of the mucky underground caves compared to the wealthy mansion is juxtaposed well, and the costumes are spectacular with black jackets and dresses galore. It’s all about the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, it knows it’s sexy and it’s not ashamed to admit it. Credit is due to Video Designer Finn Ross, as what really interested me was the use of a cinematographer throughout, while the action played on stage a cameraman filmed it live and this was projected onto parts of the set which not only helped provide a great view of what was going on, it also created a beautiful backdrop which was used to great effect throughout and was very original.
If I’m going to be critical, I would have liked to have seen the use of live instruments more on stage, as there are some incredible guitar solos that I would have loved to have seen from the on stage performers. Also there were moments, more in the beginning, where there seemed to be a bit too much going on at once and it was a tad reckless, having said that this could have been intentional to reflect the wild nature of the rebellious youth.
If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket to Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell the Musical then you’ve got one of the hottest tickets in town. You can even take a seat on a gorgeous motorbike before the show and get a feel of the wild life for yourself! Experiencing this masterpiece in the London Coliseum, which is of course home to the English National Opera, means the acoustics are beautiful; it’s the perfect setting for an evening of world class music and performance. You have to see it to believe it!
☆☆☆☆ A must see for any Meatloaf fan
Reviewer: Stephen Sheldrake
Photo Credit: Spectacular (Andrew Polec as Strat & Christina Bennington as Raven in BAT OUT OF HELL)