Serving up more Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell returns to London at the Dominion with a new-found subtlety…
“Some nights you’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before or will again”
I jest of course – there ain’t nothing subtle about Bat Out of Hell, apart from the slight price rises on the merchandise stall. Newly installed at the Dominion Theatre, after runs in Manchester, Toronto and at the Coliseum last year, it has lost little of the bizarre, baffling energy that saw it find a very devoted audience.
And they’ll be pleased that leads Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington return, the new cast members slot in effortlessly, and the inimitable vocal prowess of all is still ear-splittingly breathtaking, under Michael Reed’s musical supervision. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton remain the show’s secret weapon, stealing the thunder like a punked-up Jack and Karen.
But issues remain, and some are exacerbated here. The thinness of the story means that despite the stage being filled with bodies, so few supporting characters actually stand out as they deliver the kind of choreography that Bonnie Tyler would have rejected for being too 80s. And director Jay Scheib seems to have opted to broaden the comic schtick to an overly knowing degree.
In some ways though, in most ways in fact, this is the kind of show that is beyond critique. The effects work that dominates the first act actually delivers the first part of the quote the publicity is leading with, even if the heart never quite soars afterwards. But the car! The dinner table! The random shirtlessness! The speed of the bike! Best enjoyed with a (pint) glass of wine (or two) and credulity suspended.