BWW Reviews: Equinox Theatre Presents Campy, Melodramatic Fun with BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL

BWW Reviews: Equinox Theatre Presents Campy, Melodramatic Fun with BAT BOY: THE MUSICALEquinox Theatre Company opens their 2013 season with the dark musical comedy BAT BOY: The Musical playing now until March 16th at the Bug Theatre.Based on a story in The Weekly World News, BAT BOY: The Musical is a musical comedy/horror show about a half boy/half bat creature who is discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia. For lack of a better solution, the local sheriff brings Bat Boy to the home of the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, where he is eventually accepted as a member of the family. Bat Boy is happy with his new life, but when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded people of Hope Falls, they turn on him. Soon the entire town arrives and hears the shocking story of Bat Boy's unholy origin.

First I must share my personal thoughts on the loss of the amazing talent that was Adam Michael Perkes who passed away in the middle of this show's run. I have seen him in several productions including The Vibrator Play with Equinox and Sweeney Todd with Ignite. His performances were always so funny and over the top and had the audience in stitches. Yet even with his genius comedic timing, his roles also showed a thoughtful, heartfelt side, that gave his characters depth and made his craft so memorable. I was absolutely ecstatic to see this production because I knew that Adam would truly shine in this playful, whimsical, twisted and complex role. I was filled with remorse and sadness to learn that he had not only passed away while his light was shining bright onstage, but was battling so many demons of his own and turned to drugs as an escape instead of his loving support base for help. Even the most talented actors occasionally experience a darker side when they are faced with rejection, self-doubt, criticism and depression. It is up to each of us to find the strength to face those demons head on and reach out and ask for help and support so we don't spiral out of control. It is with this tragic loss that we must remember that we all need help sometimes and to love each other as the supportive theater family that we are! The entire cast and crew deserve a standing ovation for being so professional and really coming together in the face of such tragedy. With the many hours spent in rehearsal and delving into the roles and interpersonal connections that make up the relationships in the show; a cast becomes more than a working unit, but a family whose bonds last a lifetime. Several of my closest friends are the delightful result of the tight,family bonds of the wonderful shows that I have had the pleasure of doing in my career. I may remember those roles with pride and a smile on my face, but it is those relationships that I truly treasure in my heart. I could not even imagine how to pick the pieces of a production after experiencing such a loss like this. This talented cast kept the show fun, light and melodramatic, with an overall campy humor that was a total delight to the audience. I am so honored that I was able to witness the strength and wit of this exceptional production and will remember it forever. Highlight musical numbers include Hold Me Bat Boy, A Home for You, Show you a Thing or Two, Comfort and Joy, Three Bedroom House, Inside Your Heart.
Nick Sugar was a natural in the title role and should receive a standing ovation for being brave and supportive enough to step into this show to see the production through. He kept the role of Bat boy lighthearted and fun at first and really played up the non-verbal. When his character becomes educated, he played up the conflict and yearning for acceptance wonderfully and it was thoroughly enjoyable to see Nick and his fierce talent back on the stage. Emily Macomber as his adopted mother, Meredith was also simply fabulous. She played up her melodrama so well and her pipes were astounding! She really kept the plot moving along in a most delightful way. At times I thought it would be fun to have a drag queen in this role, but Emily totally owed this part and totally impressed me with her passion and comedy. Her daughter, Shelley (played by the divine Rachelle Wood) was also exceptional and kept that youthful and playful edge about her in this diverse role. James O'Hagen Murphy was over the top and marvelous as the conflicted Dr. Parker. While he may not have had the same singing abilities as some of his cast mates, he still gave it his all and was a twisted crowd pleaser. I also loved the talented ensemble and could tell that they were having fun with all of their many roles. The combination of melodrama and comedic timing mad for a fun filled evening and they played off each other so well!

Colin Roybal was pulling triple duty as Director, Music Director, and Set Designer. He was quite thoughtful about the comedy that encompassed this fabulous script and kept things campy and light instead of cheesy and too much. I loved his set that showcased a massive cave and simple house. I only wished that they had used those fabulous levels in the cave more (especially in Act One). I must also mention the choreography, that was so much fun in the opening number, I just wish there had been more of that throughout the show. I also loved the ominous soundtrack before the show started that really built the energy and anticipation for this B-musical. I can tell that this musical could easily go way over the top, but Colin kept the reins on his energetic actors and truly pulled the funny out of every line while reflecting the tender and heartfelt side of this wonderful production. Job very well done.

Come experience this fun and campy cult classic that is an audience favorite and honor a great talent. There is still time to see Equinox Theatre Company's BAT BOY: The Musical delighting audiences now until March 16th. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street in Denver. Tickets are available online at or by calling 720-984-0781.

This show is recommended for mature audiences.
Pictured Above: Adam Michael Perkes at Bat Boy

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