Bat Out of Hell: The Musical – Dominion Theatre, London 11 August –
The dystopian and somewhat post-apocalyptic stage set looked spectacular and all the visual effects were a joy to behold. The costumes, the lights, the sound, the atmosphere, and the cozy (and to some extent intimate) atmosphere of the Dominion Theatre, everything just felt right about this show. The marvelous thing about "Bat Out of Hell" is that it casts the Meat Loaf classics in an entirely different light, or rather, it adds new and compelling aspects to them. Listening to "Heaven Can Wait", "It’s All Coming Back to Me Now", and "I’d Do Anything for Love" in this particular context made it quite obvious that Steinman’s visionary rock opera compositions were always meant for something as glorious and dazzling as a musical along the lines of this one. In many ways, it felt as if the tunes had finally found their true and proper home. All the timeless, massive, and heart-pumping hits were there and they sounded absolutely superb when performed live by the insanely talented ensemble of musicians led by Robert Emery. There was plenty of power and pomp to the tunes and the vocals were simply out of this world. Highlights included "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", "Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad", and "What Part of My Body Hurts the Most".
The musical is essentially about dreams and rebellion, heartache and promise, love and despair, and so on and so forth, but is neither complex nor convoluted. Truth be told, the storyline and entire premise of the show is pretty simple, but dwelling on the depth of the narrative (or lack of depth, if you will) would be to miss the point of "Bat Out of Hell" entirely. There are nods and parallels to the storyline of "We Will Rock You", but frankly, "Bat Out of Hell" is the more entertaining and all-around fun of the two. The entire thing is basically a magical rock ‘n’ roll romance in which the main character, the rebellious Strat, falls in love with the beautiful and naive daughter (Raven) of a tyrannical ego-maniac named Falco. Fun and intriguing? You bet! Sharon Sexton (the mother of Raven) and Rob Fowler (Falco) were flawless and perfectly eccentric while Andrew Polec (Strat) came across as utterly charismatic, confident, and convincing throughout the entire performance. The beautiful Christina Bennington also blew us away with her impressive and passionate take on the interesting character that is Raven, but then again, the cast as a whole was incredible.
It was a mesmerizing and utterly amazing show that left us floored and I have absolutely no problem understanding why this one was voted the best London musical in 2017 (London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2017). It is loud, vibrant, and occasionally a little overblown and over-the-top, and that is exactly what makes it so charming and endearing. Should you by any chance visit London sometime before late January 2019, you owe it to yourself to pay the glorious Dominion Theatre a visit and immerse yourself in the spectacular experience that is "Bat Out of Hell: The Musical". There is no better rock opera musical out there that I can think of, that is for damn sure.