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re: A Three Star Review

Posted by:
Jacqueline 10:43 pm MST 03/17/17
In reply to: A Three Star Review - Jsteinfan 04:23 pm MST 03/17/17

How anyone could fault Andrew is beyond me. What next, saying Rob as Falco isn't hotter than hell?!

> Theatre Review: Bat out of Hell, Manchester Opera House
> Kevin Bourke March 17, 2017 Arts, Editor's Picks,
> Featured, Theatre 0 Comments
> Bat-Out-of-Hell-premiere
> Part of the strange charm of the original Bat Out Of Hell
> recording has always been that it was unashamedly
> grandiose and knowingly absurd, and that, lyrically and
> presentation-wise, it was also pretty funny. That was
> absolutely its saving grace and surely the factor that,
> eventually, brought record-buyers around to it in their
> millions.
>
> At about the same time, of course, that love of rock ’n’
> roll mythology (while recognising its fundamental
> foolishness) was being taken in the opposite, minimalist
> direction by The Ramones and some of their
> co-conspirators. Music history has probably been kinder to
> The Ramones but that’s at least partly because there’d
> never been anything quite like Jim Steinman’s concept, a
> delirious mixture of a larger-than-life,
> ridiculously-named performer with a Wall Of Sound
> re-imagining of every rock trope out there. And there
> certainly hasn’t been anything since, notwithstanding
> various misguided further ‘Volumes’.
>
> It’s both ironic and unfortunate for Jim Steinman’s Bat
> Out Of Hell – The Musical, to give the show its full,
> legally approved title, that although it’s well known the
> songs and concept came from a musical theatre piece
> Steinman had begun working on and employed Meat Loaf to
> perform, that was five decades ago. Now, BOOH finally
> appears in the middle of a theatrical landscape fairly
> littered with rock musicals, most of them
> chuckle-inducingly grandiose and almost all of them simply
> stupid – We Will Rock You anyone”?
>
> So the only way for the show to go, to employ a well-worn
> rock cliché, is to turn everything up to “eleven” – and I
> don’t mean just the live band but also Jon Bausor’s
> jaw-dropping set, for which the stage, and a fair bit of
> the auditorium seems to have been gutted, as well as the
> performances and the pyrotechnics. This might be one of
> those rare shows worth showing up for just for the sheer
> visceral experience of seeing it.
>
> Bat out of HellInevitably, it’s all set in a near future
> dystopia where The Lost (that ‘lost children’ allusion and
> a character called ‘Tink’ a reminder of its origins as a
> rock ’n’ roll re-imagining of Peter Pan) live underground
> and, because of a genetic mutation, never get older than
> 18. Strat (Andrew Polec) is their charismatic leader,
> although his charisma doesn’t seem to extend much beyond a
> few half-baked Jim Morrison impressions. Above ground,
> where they and their goons seem to be the only
> inhabitants, is the domain of evil(ish) overlord Falco
> (Rob Fowler) and his frustrated rock-chick of a wife
> (Sloane), who live with their over-protected and typically
> teenage daughter Raven (Christina Bennington) in a
> towering skyscraper named for the despot. Hmmm.
>
> Mid-riot – at least I think that’s what was going on –
> Strat falls for the never-knowingly over-clothed Raven,
> Daddy gets a bit upset, and, erm, that’s it really,
> plot-wise.
>
> There’s some terrific singing and at least one truly
> tremendous set-piece, with Falco and Sloane trying to
> patch up their failing marriage with a duet, Paradise By
> The Dashboard Light, that finishes explosively with a
> presumably horrendously expensive gag involving an onstage
> car being pushed into the orchestra pit. But the show just
> never knows when to stop. Already portentous songs like
> Bat Out Of Hell, Dead Ringer For Love and You Took The
> Words Right Out Of My Mouth are often stretched out
> wildly, apparently just so each cast member can have a go
> at singing them, while some of the dance routines are as
> clunkily unattractive as Strat’s woeful ‘poetry’.
> Crucially, with the glaring exception of that Paradise By
> The Dashboard Light sequence, it just isn’t funny or
> thrilling enough to let that stuff slide.
>
> Still, Danielle Steers as Zahara fully deserved the
> audience cheers for her vocal power and stage presence
> (although her role in the script was inexplicable – last
> minute cuts even in a show this length?) and Rob Fowler
> and Sharon Sexton really do look like they’re having fun
> up there. If only the show itself could be a bit more like
> that and a bit less like an old bloke’s indulgent – and
> sometimes sexually ambiguous – rock ’n’ roll fantasy.
> Unless that’s the point of the whole thing, of course.
>
> By Kevin Bourke, Theatre Editor
>
> golden-star golden-star golden-star


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