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BWW Review: BAT OUT OF HELL, London Coliseum


Bat Out of HellAs London temperatures soar, Bat Out of Hell - a scorching hot new musical - has opened at the London Coliseum following its recent premiere in Manchester.

Bat Out of HellFilling the hole left behind by West End hits We Will Rock You and Rock Of Ages, the musical is packed full with Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf's classic music.

The story's hardly worth mentioning, as it is totally bizarre. The show is based around a teenage romance between Raven, a young girl we see growing up and finding her inner strength, and Strat, a modern-day Peter Pan who will be 18 for evermore.

No expense has been spared on Jay Scheib's production; the musical is certainly worth seeing for the spectacle - perhaps the biggest show I've seen in the West End since Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The set is magnificent, with tremendous lighting and terrific sound.

It's perhaps frustrating that so much of is directed upstage - the London Coliseum is a huge theatre, yet much of the action takes place right at the back. I could hardly make out any of the actors' faces, which disconnected me with the piece. Whilst the show is a sight to be seen, it's missing that all-important actor/audience relationship.

The casting team for Bat Out Of Hell must be commended - it's wonderful to see such fresh and exciting talent. There are several actors in lead roles who have appeared in numerous ensembles but never had their big break. Christina Bennington, who recently understudied Magnolia in Show Boat, gives a breakthrough performance as Raven. Bennington's vocal control is unbelievable, and she gives a suitably mystifying performance as Raven goes through a distorted journey to self-discovery.

In his West End debut, Andrew Polec is in his element as Strat. He belts out huge number after huge number, lets rip and appears to have the time of his life. Elsewhere there are strong performances from Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, as well as Danielle Steers who brings the house down as Zahara - the Coliseum may be gigantic but Steers has phenomenal presence and a voice to die for. She truly owns the stage.

As a piece of theatre, Bat Out Of Hell may be a spectacle, but I'm not sure it stands strong in its own right. It's big, it's loud and it's sexy, but the story is poor and there are moments when the show drags (it's a whopping three hours long).

If you remember epic numbers - including "I'd Do Anything For Love", "Dead Ringer For Love" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" (the list goes on) - being released first time around, you will love this show. Featuring big songs performed by a stellar cast, Bat Out Of Hell certainly provides a night to remember.

Bat Out Of Hell runs at the London Coliseum until 22 August

Photo Credit: Specular

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