Thursday, October 6

Bat Out of Hell – Hull New Theatre

Hull New Theatre’s autumn season got off to a flying start on Tuesday night, when Bat Out Of Hell the Musical roared into town.

As a reviewer, I try to be critical, but when something of this calibre hits the stage, it is practically impossible to find fault.

The rip-roaring production, featuring the music of Meatloaf, centres around two couples – 18-year-olds, gang leader, Strat (Glenn Adamson) and his love interest Raven (Rebecca Lafferty); and Raven’s over-protective parents, Falco (Rob Fowler) and Sloane (Sharon Sexton).

Strat’s gang, The Lost, live underground, while Raven and her parents live above-ground, in luxury.

Here I must mention set designer, Jon Bausor, whose concept of having just one item of the set, a sofa, having to be “scene-shifted” throughout the production (apart from a car and motorbike at odd times) was ingenious.

Not only that, the live action on the main stage, a video of live action above and behind that, to the right, another live action scene on a bigger screen, meant every move, wherever it took place, was visible to us theatregoers all of the time.

Back to the story. Strat falls in love with Raven, but her father is a tyrannical ruler who can’t bear the thought of his daughter leaving home. In fact, a nurse doses her up each night at bedtime, even giving her a “dream-suppressant” potion.

Large chunks of the musical focus on the parents, Falco and Sloane, whose marital problems are in turn, hilariously funny (Sexton as the mother makes a really good drunk), and deeply emotional.

Their acting skills are only matched by their singing voices and when they sang What Part Of My Body Hurts The Most, it was a magical, unforgettable scene.

Strat and Raven are also emotional, but in the dramatic way only teens can be. Blessed with unbeatable singing voices, they exuded energy and angst in equal measures.

In fact, everyone on stage that night had the most wonderful, tuneful and crystal-clear singing voices, all definitely doing justice to Meatloaf’s catalogue of hits – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, Dead Ringer For Love, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now and, the title song, Bat Out Of Hell – just some of the 19 songs performed on the night.

Of course, these songs would have been nothing without the amazing live music from a band, conducted by Iestyn Griffiths, which added to the wonderful atmosphere.

This is a noisy, rock ’n’ rolling spectacle which could have been ruined by sound engineers who

went over the top. But on the night, the volume was perfect. Yes, songs were belted out at the top of the performers’ lungs, but every word could be clearly heard.

Lights flashed, sparks flew, golden tinsel fell and love won the day. Spectacular!

Meatloaf, to whom this tour is dedicated after his death In January this year, would have approved.

Running until Saturday, September 24, 2022, 7.30pm nightly with 2.30pm matinees on Thursdays, 15th & 22nd; and Saturdays, 17th & 24th. Tickets from £20. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 12th September 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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