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5 out of 5 ain't bad

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Book, Music, Lyrics by Jim Steinman

Directed by Jay Scheib

Photos by Chris Davis Studio

Review by David Bithell for A View To A Kiln

We visited the Regent theatre, Hanley last night for the first show this week of Bat Out Of Hell, and its safe to we weren’t disappointed. From 40 Harley Davidsons revving their engines (Harley Owners group celebrating 10 years) at the same time honouring the main man himself, Meatloaf, to the red carpet and of course the usual warm welcome from the marketing team.

The staging was fab, and I liked how there was an onstage cameraperson who filmed various scenes so it felt like you were watching a film on the big screen, this is something I hadn’t witnessed before in theatre and it took me back a bit. It was as though the story was playing out in the actors very own eyes.

Of course the play has plenty of Meatloaf classics throughout which made the musical even more enjoyable, lets face it, who doesn’t like the sounds of “the loaf”. What I enjoyed the most was with some musicals, the band outplay the vocals but to me this this was pitched perfectly, which allowed the audience every line to be heard with pristine clarity, with the volume steadily rising to a crescendo at the close of the performance, especially with the most famous of them all, ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ and ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ appearing in quick succession. A very busy ensemble is kept busier than usual in most productions, with ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are’ providing opportunities for solo verses for characters who are, frankly, otherwise largely in the background – Danny Whelan’s Ledoux was the stand-out for me in the ‘Objects’ line-up.

As well as the story line, the set and stage is busy with motorcycles, a couch and even a car making appearances. I found the lighting to be perfect for this show, which added to the rock and roll feel of the 80s.

Joelle Moses’ Zahara has a lovely voice, with her counterpart James Chisholm strikingly convincing as her love interest Jagwire – the pair really stand out in ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ during the first act, and in ‘Dead Ringer For Love’ during the second. The on-stage chemistry between Rob Fowler’s Falco and Sharon Sexton’s Sloane feels very real, and there might be a good reason for that. I enjoyed their rendition of ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ which show their chemistry to the max.

I particularly enjoyed Martha Kirby’s performance as Raven, (Falco and Sloane’s daughter), she epitomises the angst and persona of what its like to be going from teen to adult. She gives an expressive performance from the outset: the opening spoken word number, ‘Love and Death and the American Guitar’, is delivered with plenty of warmth. But she is just as comfortable belting out the kind of rock anthems this production is filled with. Wanting to “see whats on the outside world” and discover what real life is like, she’s fallen for Glenn Adamson’s Strat, whom her father forbids her to see for reasons explained in the narrative. This instruction, of course, persuing youngs love, which intensifies her longing – and indeed in return his, and both are at pains to pursue that “forbidden fruit”.

Adamson’s oozes with confidence on stage as Strat and comes with an abundance of assuredness. This is plain to see during later stages of the play whilst sharing shall we say intimate moments with Raven.

Adamson’s stage presence is remarkable, and somehow makes what could be a dislikeable and ostentatious character rather charming.

I would also like to applaud the band, consistently good throughout and who a couple of members get a memorable laugh during a brief moment which had me in stitches.

Overall, Bat Out Of Hell gave us all a night to remember, and remember well, the person who this play was dedicated to, that person known to everyone as Meatloaf.

RIP Michael Lee Aday!

Bat Out Of Hell runs until Saturday 30th April 2022. Visit for tickets or by calling the box office on 0844 871 7615.

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