Monday, 29 November 2021

Lively display just roarsome

THE initial roar in response to Bat out of Hell was not the roar from the crowd — that came later.

The initial roar arose when a convoy of more than 30 motorcycles from the local Harley-Davidson club did a high-octane ride by the New Theatre in honour of the opening night of the production. Excitement was mounting well before the show began, with this great outdoor spectacle.

Inside the theatre, a lot of biker chic and leather was in evidence, both in the costumes on stage and worn by the audience. For such a musical extravaganza, much credit must go to the technical and design team for impressive sets, lighting and, of course, music.

Based on music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, Bat out of Hell is a tale of rebellious children, anxious parents, ageing, disappointment — and all the other factors that get in the way of people living happy and fulfilled lives. Finding lost youth is key for older characters: seize the moment is the message. There are echoes of the children’s classic Peter Pan, so arguably this musical is about travels in Neverland on a motorbike. Tinkerbelle manifests as Tink (Killian Thomas Lefevre), a confused and sometimes spiteful member of the Lost gang.

Star billing goes to Glenn Adamson as gang leader Strat and to Kellie Gnauck as his beloved Raven, as well as Raven’s parents, wealthy Falco (Rob Fowler) and his mischievous wife Sloane (Sharon Sexton). These four are mesmerising in their stage presence and tremendous delivery of duets. But high praise should also go to another pair, James Chisholm as Jagwire and Joelle Moses as Zahara for their poise and their marvellous voices.

A mixture of impassioned anthems and ballads is ideal for a narrative that mixes mayhem and defiance with romance. Many of the songs will be familiar, especially the blockbuster numbers made popular by singer Meatloaf, such as Bat Out of Hell, I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Dead Ringer for Love delivered with massive energy by the cast. All the singing and dancing from the ensemble cast is lively and uplifting and the show moves along at a cracking pace.

This musical is electrifying, loads of fun and will put a smile on your face. Grab tickets if you are looking for a memorable night out.

Until October 16.

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