by Ben Tipple
Catch the unique sensory spectacular now.
Beginning life in the 1970s as a series of albums with the same name, the musical adaptation of Bat Out Of Hell has arrived in London’s West End. Based on the songs of Meat Loaf, and penned by long-time collaborator and original album songwriter Jim Steinman, it follows the tale of Strat in what unfolds to be a twisted post-apocalyptic tale of teenage love and youthful rebellion.
Cursed with eternal youth, Strat falls in love with the reckless Raven, the daughter of the tyrannical Falco who will stop at nothing to hinder the unholy union. Queue a visual and audible spectacular that spins a web between some of Meat Loaf’s biggest hits, not least the album title-track and the soaring I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).
Each tracks falls comfortably into the narrative, from the opening monologue lifted directly from Wasted Youth, to the suitably racy rekindling of physical love soundtracked by Paradise By The Dashboard Light. Throughout, Bat Out Of Hell never once holds back.
Much like the motorbikes revving across the vast stage, the show thrives on adrenaline. The pace is mesmerising, zipping from one setting to the next with ease, and showcasing some absolutely stunning stage design. The use of cameras is inspired, cementing the story’s fantasy filled blend of old and new.
The plot unfolds at an equally ferocious speed, perfectly handling the many unexpected twists and turns. Even in its delicate moments, the musical is nothing less than turbo charged. It’s sexy, sultry and sleazy, matched by its perfectly melodramatic soundtrack.
The cast are astounding, at times quite literally driving the production forward. As Strat, Andrew Polec carries a youthful jubilance and an underlying sense of mischief, perfectly capturing a character on the very verge of maturity. Christina Bennington as Raven balances a captivating naivety with a dramatic sense of lust. This is mirrored in the turbulent relationship between Falco (Rob Fowler) and Sloane (Sharon Sexton).
Coming together in a frenetic explosion of the senses, words will never do Bat Out Of Hell justice. It’s unlike anything the West End theatres has seen before.