The difficulty for Bat Out of Hell, The Musical is that Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s songs generally pertain to only a small handful of themes: sex, teenage rebellion, motorised transportation and overwrought declarations of love.
Steinman has, technically, managed to string a plot around these four pillars. For a story so simple, it can be surprisingly hard to follow (it’s not often that one finds oneself longing for more exposition). But let’s face it, if you’re in this for the plot, you’re in the wrong place.
If, however, you’re here for rock’n’roll classics, glitter cannons and high-octane ensemble numbers of dubious plot relevance? Well then, you’re in for a treat.
The cast is great. Leading man ‘Strat’ (Glenn Adamson) leans into his lanky, campy charisma, most often with shirt off and tongue all the way out. His love interest, Raven Falco (Martha Kirby), plays a stroppy, entitled teen to a jaw-grinding T. But the true star is her mother, Sloane Falco (Sharon Sexton), who imbues her every line with a wit and flair which go well beyond the script.
The set (Jon Bausor) is evocative and occasionally pyrotechnic. One particularly clever move is the inclusion of a videographer onstage within the Falco family home, her shaky real-time footage offering another perspective on the action. The much-touted motorbike (star of a thousand Underground posters) is another stand-out – though when it inches forward at a glacial pace, it can veer closer to the silly than the bad-ass. Somewhat apt, you might say.
Really, though, Bat Out of Hell, The Musical is about the music, and the stellar vocal performances. Meat Loaf fans will love it. Even the Meat Loaf agnostic will find something to hum along to. And if there’s glitter, explosions and thrusting dance routines in the meantime? That’s just a bonus.
Playing 18 – 29 January 2022 at the New Wimbledon Theatre and then on tour.