BAT OUT OF HELL, 5*****, London

book, music & lyrics by Jim Steinman.
5 *****
The Coliseum, 33 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES

Mon – Sat 7.30pm Mat Thurs & Sat 2.30
Runs 2hr 45 mins One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7845 9300.
Review: William Russell 21 June


A hell of a show
The plot is rubbish, the decibel count is far too high, the choreography, while athletic, uninspired and the direction sloppy to say the least, but the songs are wonderful and the leading man holds the attention throughout. When Act One ends with the title song – for reasons that escape me he is covered in blood – you are in the presence of one of those unforgettable moments in the theatre. Someone is hitting the heights.

The plot is a riff on Peter Pan. Manhattan after the Apocalypse, now called Obsidian, is ruled by Falco, who is very nasty indeed, has an army of thugs, and lives in a tower block named after himself. In the tunnels and sewers below the city lives Strat, an ever young 18 year old, who falls for Falco’s dumb teen age daughter Raven. There are also lots of lost boys in his gang. Battle duly commences with Falco before love finds a way, although it is never quite clear how Raven is going to get over the fact that Strat will stay 18 for ever while she ages. But who cares? One sits back and enjoys the songs, Meatloaf hits the audience knows by heart.

Juke box musicals can be dire, but this one proves the exception, lifting the spirits as the songs soar. Andrew Polec is a superb Strat, tearing off his shirt every now and then to reveal the sort of toned muscles to send some of the audience into raptures and belting out his numbers as they demand to be belted out. Christina Bennington’s Raven is a bit of a bore, but she sings well, and Danielle Steers as a mysterious foot in both camps woman called Zahara has a voice that would quell riots. As for the others, had the programme listed who sings what one could praise individuals but it does not. Various young men seize their chances well and pelvic thrusts abound.

Rob Fowler as Falco is nicely nasty, also takes his short off a lot, and can also belt out a song in style, and as the Tinker Bell character, called Tink, who betrays Strat out of jealousy – he loves him, a bit of gay love being de rigeur these days – Aran Macrae is effectively love lorn. There are numerous motor bikes which come on and off roaring loudly, albeit moving arthritically, and a limousine which gets dumped into the orchestra pit while the set does all sort of things and back projections get projected. The show has taken over the Coliseum for a short season, but there is no reason why it should not run for ever if a venue can be found. It could have been the evening from hell, but proves one hell of an evening.

Strat: Andrew Polec.
Raven: Christina Bennington.
Falco: Rob Fowler.
Sloane: Sharon Sexton.
Tink: Aran Macrae.
Zahara: Danielle Steers.
Jagwire: Dom Hartley-Harris.
Ledoux: Giovanni Spano.
Blake: Patrick Sullivan.
Crysteva: Jemma Alexander.
Mordema: Emily Benjamin.
Batfish: Stuart Boother.
Valkyrie: Georgia Carling.
Spinotti: Natalie Chua.
Hollander: Jonathan Cordin.
Liebeswoosh: Amy di Bartolomeo.
Krolocker: Jordan Lee Davies.
Vanveeteran: Billy Dobson.
Vilmos: Hannah Ducharme.
Astroganger: Isaac Edwards.
Bessamey: Pheobe Hart.
Judge: Linus Henriksson.
Kwaidan: Rosalind James.
Lunarrow: Kalene Jeans.
Denym: Michael Naylor.
Scherzo: Eve Norris.

Markevitch: Tim Oxbrow.
Liberame: Andrew Patrick-Walker.
Hoffman: Benjamin Purkiss.
O’Dessasuite: Anthony Selwyn.
Goddesilla: Courtney Stapleton.
Esquivel: Ruben Van Keer.

At certain performance Benjamin Piurkiss plays Strat.

Director: Jay Scheib.
Choreographer: Emma Portiner.
Musical Supervisor: Michael Reed,
Costume Designers: Jon Bausen & Meentje Nielsen.
Viodeo Designer: Finn Ross.
Lighting Designer; Patrick Woodroffe.
Sound Designer: Gareth Owen.
Orchestrator: Steve Sidwell.
Fight Director: RC-Annie.

2017-06-23 09:54:29

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