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Bat Out Of Hell - my review

Posted by:
Ali 08:40 am MST 02/19/17

I remember everything. I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday. I was barely seventeen and I went to see Meatloaf perform live at the Sheffield arena. I don't remember how I talked my parents into this, but I do remember that it wasn't at all easy. My mother was convinced that Meatloaf was a satanic rock band and took some persuading...

But as I heard him sing and that beautiful voice unleashed a hot chill through my spine like an army of fire ants, the magic of hearing those songs live for the first time was tainted by the knowledge that the supernova I was watching could not burn forever. Singers are mortal...

But Strat is not. Strat will never grow up and he will never die. Last night I saw Andrew take up a mantle that Jim left lying on a stage in Amherst back in 1969 and put it on, as fresh and new as ever. In years to come, others will also take up that same mantle and fifty years from now, I will make my faltering way to the theatre and there he will still be; frozen forever at 18. Strat is the vehicle through which everything that Jim is will live forever. He is wild and he is fearless; because he has nothing to fear. He will outlive us all.

However this show is not just a homage to youth: there is also a real maturity to 'Bat out of Hell', and while Strat and Raven bathe in a heady, hormonal soup of pure teenage Steinman, Falco and Sloane give wing to a deeper wisdom that comes from many years of living. Steinman is an 18 year old who has been 18 for a long time...

If I had seen this show twenty years ago I would have been relating to Raven, but as a 34 year old divorcee I watched the drama unfold through the eyes of Sloane. Despite her rocky marriage and her borderline alcoholism, I wanted to be her. I felt strangely empowered seeing her standing on that stage, baring the scars of a flawed life, full of bad choices, and unashamedly owning them. I was surprised by how sympathic even the monstrous Falco was. Steinman has a real talent for creating work that is very dark but also incredibly positive and at times downright joyous. Paradise by the dashboard light, in particular, is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever seen on stage - so many lovely touches!

In summary, I think Jim's musical theatre legacy is secure. Huge congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!

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