REVIEW: Bat Out Of Hell, The Musical@ The Opera House, Manchester

The cast of BAT OUT OF HELL - THE MUSICAL, credit Specular (3)
Photo: Phil Tragen

This much anticipated stage show based on the classic Jim Steinman album has been hyped for months prior to it’s opening at the Manchester Opera House. So what can we say about Bat Out Of Hell?…

Wow… Just Wow.

Does it live up to the hype? The hype doesn’t do it justice.  It doesn’t come close.

To be honest, as someone who played the Meatloaf album multiple times when I was a teenager, I would have been easily impressed by a stage version.

But setting that aside, my partner (who was not a fan) and I agreed this was the best show to grace the Opera House stage – and possibly any stage.

Every note and line was perfect, every trick accomplished and every stop pulled out – with a faultless blend of breathtaking special effects, imaginative staging, dramatic action combining JM Barrie’s Peter Pan with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (trust me, it works), and of course, those classic rock tunes – including Bat Out Of Hell, Paradise by the Dashboard Light and You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth – every one a show stopper.

The musical is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland.  Strat, the forever young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian.

No-one puts a foot wrong in this production and newcomer Andrew Polec will be one to watch after turning in a stunning performance in the lead role as Strat. Christina Bennington is also superb as forbidden love,  Raven.

Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton in the roles of tyrant Falco and his jaded wife provide the highlight of the night for me with their rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light. I won’t give too much away, but let’s say they do something very clever with a car on stage.

The show is an incredible experience and must surely end up as part of that pantheon of classic musicals which will continue to be produced after 25 years or more.

So, if you see anything at the theatre this year, see this before it moves to London.

Runs till April 8.

Dave Toomer


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