It has taken me two weeks to even begin to write my Bat Out of Hell the musical review. I needed to collect my thoughts and write it as a serious piece where other people may read it and decide to book up. I didn’t want to write it as a hyper Fangirl who is just going to gush about everyone and everything in it, but hey…this is a blog written by me so we all know what to expect and let’s face it… A serious, thought provoking piece of writing is not what you are going to see today. It’s going to be Fangirl heaven so brace yourselves.
Bat Out of Hell first came to the stage last year (2017) in Manchester and London for a short run where it gained a huge and crazy wild fan base. It also popped up in Toronto for a while before coming back to London this year, making the majestic Dominion Theatre it’s home. This particular theatre also played host to We Will Rock You for many years, so I couldn’t pick a more perfect theatre for this show.
I very much wanted to see Bat last year, but due to life and ticket sales for the show booming, I didn’t get around to it. So hearing that it was coming back, I knew I had to book up. Jim Steinman writes songs like no other and due to my Mum loving a healthy dose of Meatloaf when I was younger, I was familiar with the songs, especially the songs from the iconic Bat Out of Hell album. I have forever been fascinated at how the songs are more like stories than actual songs.
I have been fairly quiet online recently and haven’t been able to get to many shows due to my Dad’s cancer battle which alot of you will know about and due to unfortunately another close family member being very ill and hospitalised for a long duration. It’s been a very difficult year and at times, hard to find the brightness in anything, so I needed this show like a monkey needs to eat bananas.
Of course, seeing a show in London usually involves getting to spend the day with my wonderful and beautiful best friend Ali, so that is always the cherry on top of a great day out.
I must admit, on the train journey there, I did begin to wonder if I should be going with everything that is going on, but let me tell you that if you too are going through tough times.. you absolutely MUST make that decision to do something for yourself. It is the best thing you can do.
I met up with Ali at Leicester SQ station and we headed for our old stomping ground, the beautiful Garrick Arms where we had an epic lunch, perhaps one or two alcoholic beverages and a few hours laughing, talking and reminiscing. Also, just a side note that Ali (I know you will be reading this)… Is looking absolutely amazing right now and made me feel like a frumpy mess. That’s a story for another day though.
After lunch, we made our way to the very vibrant Dominion and picked up our front row tickets. As we found our seats, I knew we were in for something special. The stage set up is like nothing I have ever seen before. It is crazy impressive. I didn’t know where to look. My mind was jumping from…’Damn, that bike’ to ‘The stage is all lumpy, how the hell are the cast going to get around on that?’ …but get around they did.
I have been fortunate to sit front row at other shows before, but you guys.. I am still pinching myself two weeks later on getting to sit front row for Bat Out Of Hell. It’s so magical. I can’t even explain that feeling.
I never look at reviews or even delve into song lists or anything before I see show. I’m quite selfish in the fact that if I think it will vaguely have something in I might enjoy, I go for it. In this case, the music. So I hadn’t even heard what the story line in this show was or looked at the songs. I knew for the most part obviously that it would be Bat Out Of Hell album music, but I had no idea that It’s All Coming Back To Me Now would be in the show. That song is truly one of my most favourite songs EVER and gives me chills every time I hear it so to say I was excited as I browsed through the show programme is an understatement.
There is a fine line between writing a summary of a show and actually spoiling it for other people who want to see it, so I won’t mention every little detail, but I was hooked right from the start.
To sum up, there are a group called ‘The Lost’ who are frozen in time. Strat is the leader and he and ‘The Lost’ roam around the subways and abandoned tunnels. Falco industries wants to build new houses and all that jazz. Falco has a daughter called Raven. She’s not one of ‘The Lost’. Love happens. Fall outs happen. The place is called Obsidian. And do you know what? There is definitely more to the story line than that and you will for sure find another place online that describes what’s going on way better than me…but that’s what I’m sticking with. So there.
When Strat comes on played by the absolutely hypnotising Andrew Polec and launches into Love and Death and an American Guitar, that was it. I knew I wouldn’t be taking my eyes off the stage for the next few hours. I knew my attention would not waiver.
Before I go on, let me just say that I have loved and visited a lot of theatre shows. And although I have always thought that any cast is talented, I have always had my favourites within the cast. But with this show, I simply wouldn’t be able to pick a fave. Every single cast member had something. All of them were used to show off their individual talents. They were AMAZING.
But back to Andrew who played my no doubt first of a few Strats. (I just know that I will be going back to this show again and again). Andrew was Strat. He wasn’t playing a character. He was Strat from the second he stepped on stage. He was wild and crazy. He was fierce yet soft. He was completely endearing. He reminded me of having a huge crush as a teenager on a similar rock starish guy I once knew. Andrew Polec is without doubt one of the most talented people I have ever seen on stage and I am totally honoured I got to watch him perform.
The next few songs were energetic, powerful and at times, humourous. All Revved Up With No Place To Go/Wasted Youth, Who Needs The Young, It Just Won’t Quit, Out Of The Frying Pan and Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere) were performed brilliantly.
Then we got to Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. Danielle Steers plays Zahara and you actually have to witness her on stage to just see how wonderfully talented she is. Her voice is just stunning. The way she sings this song breaks my heart and she is truly a class act. I adore the slow burn for Zahara and Jagwire. During this song, that’s when it hit me. That this show has the potential to be one of my all time shows.
Then of course, we get Paradise By The Dashboard Light from the hilarious yet emotional and raw Falco and Sloane played by the gorgeous Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton. Now I know it sounds like I am saying it ALOT, but I bloody love this song anyway, so seeing how funny it was on stage just made me laugh so much. Rob and Sharon as Falco and Sloane go from making your stomach hurt from laughing to making you weep with What Part Of My Body Hurts The Most and It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. I actually believe that theirs is the greatest love story there. Because for all it’s faults, there is a deep connection and that often happens in real life.
When the last song of Act 1 finished, I was speechless. Bat Out Of Hell was spectacular. The list of emotions I felt during that one song is just too long to put on this blog. Ugh you guys, it was incredible. I just can’t put it into words. As much as they all shine as their own stars in their own right throughout the show, Andrew Polec as Strat stole this song for me. The energy he put in this one song was just unbelievable. And just before the interval came confetti heaven. I’m still finding bits of confetti in my bag and purse two weeks later. You know a show is good when you sit there breathless and stunned in the interval. How could the show be better or even level to the first act after the interval? Well.. I don’t know how, but they managed it. Act 2 was even better. It blew my mind.
Act 2 starts with Falco being…well, a little bit mean to ‘The Lost’ gang. Christina Bennington wows us with her vocals in Heaven Can Wait. Christina plays Raven. She is so believable and sincere in everything she does. But as well as the softness she brings to Raven, she’s fiery and wild. Strat and Raven are actually made for each other and that is just a fact. I could waffle on about how she impressed me for weeks, but it would get pretty boring. She is one talented lady and I hope she’s very proud of herself for making Raven so relatable.
A special mention has to be for Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are. WOW!!! Loved it. Loved it so so so much. You can’t fail to notice Giovanni Spano who plays Ledoux throughout the show because he quite frankly looks absurdly cool, but man he comes alive during this song. It gives me shivers. It was the surprise song for me. I definitely didn’t think I would be walking away singing that one over and over again but yet….here we are two weeks later, still singing it.
Just a little breather to say I genuinely thought I was going to be able to write about every song on here but reviewing it just reminds me that there were too many stand out songs and performances to choose from. I will be here for six years writing and honestly, I never exaggerate.
Dead Ringer For Love was perfect and boppy. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now was even more beautiful than I imagined it would be. So many stories entwined into one song. It was a master piece.
And for the grand finale, the very famous and long I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) ….aaaaaggghh!!! Possibly the only time I’ve ever wished that song was twenty minutes longer than it already is because I did not want this show to end. Goosebumps. Emotions. Smiling. Crying. All the feels. I can’t describe that moment. It’s a memory. It’s what you look back on and go “Remember how good that show made me feel in that moment?” and you just can’t put it into words. It was exhilarating. It was a much needed boost. It was also only the second show I’ve walked out of where I looked at Ali and said “I want to go back for the evening performance”. The first was Rock Of Ages. We all know how that story went. It was a rush, it’s a ‘thing’ inside of you that you don’t want to ever end.
And at the risk of throwing a pity party, I needed it. I needed that show. I needed these people. I needed that day. When you spend every day visiting a dreary, bleak hospital in between work and family life and bills and housework, it feels damn good to get a little bit of yourself back.
So for that, I am thankful. If anyone who has ever worked on this show as cast or crew or front of house or just anything….if they ever typed Bat Out Of Hell into Google and stumbled across this blog…then I would want them to read the thank you. I would want them to know how much that somewhat rainy second of May 2018 meant to me. Everything was spectacular. It was everything. (I would like to think I have said my thank yous to Ali who has been my rock through it all, but I probably don’t say it enough, so thank you for being so special and wonderful and for listening to boring conversations about the hospital shop charging me approximately one thousand pounds for a bottle of water).
I am trying to make that indescribable feeling last. I treated myself to the soundtrack right after the show and have been listening to it ever since. Listening to it right now in fact. Obsessed. I am counting down the days where I am fortunate enough to go back again.
The outfits are Rock n Roll heaven, the songs are immense, the acting is powerful, the chemistry is hot, the scenery and staging is mesmerising and the rollercoaster emotions follow you every step of the way.
Bat Out Of Hell is truly the best show you will catch in London right now. I can’t quite believe how much I have fallen in love with it after just one show.
If you haven’t seen it and get the chance, please do. If you have seen it, go back if circumstances allow.
Soak up that electricity and the rush of adrenaline that comes hand in hand with this show.
Bat Out Of Hell – Thank you.
*Claps for a really long time which is really awkward and weird because I’m alone right now.*