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And another one...

Posted by:
Jacqueline 08:02 pm MST 03/14/17
In reply to: 5 Star Review - Jacqueline 07:53 pm MST 03/14/17


Sometimes when it is difficult for your eyes and ears to believe what you have just witnessed, then putting it into words becomes a whole lot trickier. Tonight at the Opera House in Manchester, Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell received its long awaited World Premiere. The standing ovation at the end of the first act, never mind the end served as a fitting tribute to those both on stage and behind the scenes that work tirelessly to bring this spectacle to life each night.

It has taken many, many years for this show to take to the stage and with the book, music and lyrics by Steinman the wait was surely worth it.  This show has literally changed the way musicals are staged forever. Set designer Jon Bausor has created the most incredible canvas on which this talented company perform. Add to this spectacular lighting from Patrick Woodroffe and video design from Finn Ross it is no less than a visual multi-media masterpiece.

The story, is the classic boy meets girls, fall in love, parents don’t approve and try to split the pair up.  This is a very run of the mill story, and one you see a lot in musical theatre, however with the injection of Steinman’s music and a cast of which I have seen no better on a stage it all works rather well.

Leading the cast are the two young lovers Strat (Andrew Polec) and Raven (Christina Bennington). Both are mesmerising from the moment you first see them on stage and their chemistry electric. I cannot have wished to see a better partnership if I had wanted to, there were sublime. Raven’s parents were Falco (Rob Fowler) and Sloane (Sharon Sexton) who brought a passion and edge to the proceedings and their performance of ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ was a sexually charged romp which ended with one of the best effects of the night.

Zahara (Danielle Steers) and Jagwire (Dom Hartley-Harris) also deserve a special mention with mature vocals way beyond their years. I would love to be able to mention each and every cast member here as every one of them were faultless throughout.

The one thing that makes this show stand out from all the rest is as I mentioned earlier the staging. This is not your typical musical, just when you think you have seen everything on stage, something else happens right up until the final beat of the show when the bats are finally released from Hell!  At times it is more like a movie, with scenes switching from one side of the stage to the other supported by video projections. I have had the pleasure to work on the stage at the Opera House in Manchester, yet I am at a total loss as to how they have managed to fit everything into the building.

Finally I cannot review this production without mentioning the incredible 12-piece band under the direction of Robert Emery. Tucked away deep underneath the set they brought alive the music of Steinman in a way I had not heard before. Credit also must be paid to sound designer Gareth Owen who managed to balance the rock soundtrack and powerful vocals seamlessly.

Bat Out of Hell is for me a once in a lifetime production. I doubt I will see a more complete and spectacular piece of musical theatre in a very long time, if ever. If you get the chance to catch it whilst it is in Manchester (until 8thApril) do so.  It then moves to London’s Coliseum Theatre from the 5th July 2017. http://batoutofhellmusical.com/

> http://www.theartsshelf.com/2017/03/15/latest-review-bat-out-of-hell-opera-house-manchester/#respond
> Latest Review – Bat Out of Hell (Opera House, Manchester)
> ADMIN MARCH 15, 2017 0
> Image by Specular
> Opera House, Manchester
> Until  Saturday 8th April, 2017
> In the land of the musical … Meat Loaf is King
> An epic musical some forty-years in the making, the world
> premiere of Jim Steinman’s Wagnerian, post-apocalyptic
> masterpiece, Bat Out of Hell, now bursts onto the
> Manchester stage in mind-blowing fashion, following almost
> a month of previews.
> An extraordinary, high-octane, multimedia masterpiece,
> incredibly staged on a colossal scale, Bat Out of Hell is
> surely the must-see theatrical event of the year.
> In a dark, angst-fuelled plot that will feel strangely
> familiar to all the We Will Rock You fans out there, Bat
> Out of Hell unfolds in the futuristic land of Obsidian in
> the year 2100, a post-apocalyptic, war-torn world where
> un-aging teen rebels known as The Lost are forced into a
> brutal fight for freedom against the oppressive powers of
> a totalitarian state.
> At its centre are Obsidian’s very own Romeo and Juliet,
> Strat and Raven, the former, a fearless bad-boy biker and
> member of the insurgent band, the latter, the oppressed
> daughter of the villainous head of police, Falco,
> love-struck and desperate to escape her domineering,
> over-protective father’s suffocating clutches.
> Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington are exceptional in
> the star-making central roles, demonstrating great
> chemistry and enviable vocal gymnastics throughout. Though
> there are clear echoes of Meat Loaf’s original vocals in
> his performance, Polec perhaps wisely refrains form a
> direct impersonation, instead putting his own unique spin
> on things. Vocally Bennington doesn’t get much of a chance
> to shine in the first act but really comes into her own
> after the interval with a hair-raising performance
> of Heaven Can Wait and stirling duets (with Polec) of For
> Crying Out Loud and I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t
> Do That).
> Rob Fowler as principle antagonist Falco and Sharon Sexton
> as his wife Sloaneare again outstanding, and their
> rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light is a real
> standout.
> Unsurprisingly, the supporting ensemble is of an
> equally high standard, and the collective sound produced
> is truly haunting, however there are particularly strong
> performances from Danielle Steers as Zahara, Dom
> Hartleu-Harris as Jagwire, Giovanni Spano
> as Ledoux and Andrew Patrick-Walker, who joins Harris and
> Spano in a beautiful rendition of Objects In The Rearview
> Mirror.
> Multi-layered, multi-textured
> and multi-dimensional, designer Jon Bausor’s towering set
> is without doubt one of the most advanced and ambitious
> the theatre has seen, further elevated by the superb work
> of lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe and video designer
> Finn Ross. It is rare that a full-scale West End
> production ever reaches the regions; this is a
> glorious exception.
> The multiple video screens dotted around the various
> levels of the theatre are a very effective tool to further
> enhance the show’s autocratic theme of surveillance by
> relaying a live feed of many of the scenes staged out of
> central view, as well as ensuring that the action reaches
> everyone so no seat ever suffers from a restricted view.
> Featuring seventeen of Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest
> hits, alongside six new Steinman compositions written
> exclusively for the show, Bat Out of
> Hell’s hugely demanding rock score is given a blistering
> rendering courtesy of a sublime ensemble and magnificent
> twelve-strong band, led by musical director, Robert Emery,
> and tucked away deep beneath the stage. It would have been
> nice to have the band on-stage and on-display
> throughout, as with the likes of We Will Rock You, but
> given the vast size of the set, perhaps space just did not
> allow for it.
> Constantly challenging audience expectations and the
> possibilities of the theatre space, director Jay Scheib
> and choreographer Emma Portner’s flawless production is a
> sure-fire masterpiece, and one that has raised the musical
> theatre bar quite significantly.
> Following its run at the Manchester Opera House, Bat Out
> of Hell will transfer to the London Coliseum for a limited
> 56-performance season from 5 June to 22 July, 2017, though
> it is to be hoped another West End theatre will quickly be
> made available once the Coliseum run has commenced.
> Running Time: 2 hours and 45-minutes (approx.) (including
> one 20-minute interval)
> Final Performance at the Opera House, Manchester:
> Saturday 8th April, 2017
> Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

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