• Mikey Worrall

Bat Out of Hell is many things, but boring it is not


Meatloaf fans will find this particular incarnation of the jukebox musical a gratifying indulgence.

More regular theatregoers are likely to find themselves asking any number of questions throughout including ‘what is happening?’ and ‘did she actually just push a car into the orchestra pit?’ as well as wondering about the size of the chiropody bill for the poor actors spending two hours on that rake every night.

Between questions, (‘what on earth are The Chemical Wars?’), it dawned on me how many parallels this show has with its jukebox predecessor at the Dominion, Queen musical We Will Rock You.

1. Rebel boy meets wannabe rebel girl - just swap I Want to Break Free for All Revved Up with No Place to Go

2. Underground rebel group - Here The Lost in the Deep End, see also: The Bohemians at Tottenham Court Road tube station

3. Flying motorbike

4. Underground rebel group discovered by Falco/Khashoggi after joyful song Dead Ringer for Love/Crazy Little Thing Called Love

5. All hope is lost song early in act two - Heaven Can Wait/Who Wants to Live Forever

I was informed after seeing the show that it’s apparently based on the story of Peter Pan, but with the gratuitous shirt-removing it was less Neverland, more Magic Mike.

Despite my misgivings (I could only name three Meatloaf songs before going in so chances I would love it were already slim), there were redeeming moments: notably Sloane’s (Sharon Sexton) high belting and the pleasant arrangement of It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.

For much of the evening it is difficult to know where one song ends and another begins. Respite eventually comes in the form of Zahara's (Danielle Steers) delicious tone in songs I only wish I knew the names of.

We’re often told the whole point of a musical is that characters sing when feelings and emotions become too heightened to be expressed in spoken word. The problem here is, rather predictably, songs are shoehorned between quite dreadfully written dialogue, in moments that neither deserve nor require it.

What’s more, in the programme the musical numbers are listed in alphabetical order so you can’t even work out how much longer it will go on for.

At least visually the show is remarkable in its scale so there is always something impressive to look at. The same cannot always be said during moments of unnecessary nudity.

#dominiontheatre #westend #meatloaf #sharonsexton #daniellesteers #wewillrockyou #queen #batoutofhell

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