Review: Bat out of Hell, Manchester Opera House

I really enjoy going to the theatre so I’ve now got into the habit of checking theatre listings when I know I’m going away for the weekend, just in case there is something that catches my eye. When we were headed to Manchester James asked if I had seen anything and as nothing really appealed I explained that there wasn’t really anything on. This didn’t go down too well. Whilst Bat out of Hell was not really my idea of a great evening, James was really keen to go and apparently it was the preview run before it headed to London. So we booked tickets and let ourselves in for a night of Meat Loaf classics.

As you might expect, this is a show best seen if you are a Meat Loaf fan. Before going I would not necessarily have described myself as a fan, but I knew a few of his songs and didn’t hate them so thought I’d be ok. It does help if you know the songs, especially as at points the whole audience was singing along, but you can still enjoy the show if it is new to you.

Like many of the musicals which have been brought out based on singers/bands, the story line was a bit thin on the ground. This makes it fairly easy to follow, but the story itself isn’t anything special. A lot of the lines were also very weird. I assumed they were song lyrics as they sounded quite poetic but the rest of the group we went with (who were Meat Loaf fans) didn’t recognise them. It just made it a bit odd.


However, the staging was incredible. I was disappointed that the motorbike didn’t fly but the scene changes were very smooth and there were some clever bits. One of the characters jumps into a pool of water and comes out about a minute later soaking wet, but in completely different clothes. There was also a clever effect involving live filming taking place on the stage of bits that weren’t really visible, and then being projected either elsewhere on the stage or onto screens at the side of the stage. Whilst this was unique to any show I’d seen before and gave it a rather artistic feel, I wasn’t entirely convinced it worked. The problem with this and the split staging at times meant that there was just a bit too much going on at once so you didn’t know where to look.

The show is quite suggestive and provocative in places so don’t take the kids! Although it sounds a little as if I didn’t enjoy the show, I had a great evening, but I wouldn’t hurry back to see it. All of the singers were fantastic. The stand out performer for me was Danielle Steers playing the character of Zahara – she had a really incredible voice! Two of the dancers also really stood out and had a few moments to show off what they could do.

Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell The Musical  will be on in the London Coliseum from June 2017.

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