Bat Out Of Hell gets The Regent Theatre ‘all revved up’ in memory of Meat Loaf

When news of Meat Loaf’s sudden passing broke in January, the Bat Out Of Hell the Musical cast were among the first to lead tributes to the late, great singer and producer. Now, the award-winning production serves as a lasting legacy of both Meat Loaf and lyricist Jim Steinman, who passed away in April last year.

This week, the rock ‘n’ roll show has rolled up at Hanley’s The Regent Theatre for a week of getting All Revved Up. 

Chris Davis Studio

And speaking of revving, the opening night of Bat Out Of Hell saw the Stoke Chapter of the Harley Owners Group park up on Piccadilly for a red carpet walk like no other. Forty-four bikes lined the street outside the theatre for a minute-long rev as ticket holders headed inside. It was a truly magnificent spectacle celebrating the Harley Davidson Owners 10th anniversary, and set the tone for a night of anarchy.

Read more: Footloose starring Jake Quickenden at The Regent Theatre

Bat Out Of Hell is based on the album trilogy by Meat Loaf, of which Steinman wrote the songs. It’s loosely based on the story of Peter Pan, even naming a bratty, jealous character ‘Tink’, but there’s also tones of The Lost Boys and other late 80s/early 90s films. 

Set in post-apocalyptic Manhattan, the love story follows the relationship between Strat – the forever-young leader of The Lost, whose DNA was frozen at 18 – and Raven, the daughter of tyrannical ruler Falco.

Chris Davis Studio

Rebellious Raven sneaks out from under the nose of her overbearing and dysfunctional parents into the dystopian world of The Deep End and falls head over leather boots for Strat. But it begs the question – will they do anything for love?

Glenn Adamson makes a charming and boyish Strat, on the hunt for mischief and fun, offering powerful vocals to Bat Out Of Hell as he smears himself in fake blood. His leading lady, Raven – played by Martha Kirby – reminds me of Sarah in the Labyrinth, and creates this atmosphere of a dream-like state with her desires always just out of reach.

Chris Davis Studio

The ensemble, clad in acid wash denim and skin tight leather, practically erupted on stage, with audiences often being left lost for where to look – pardon the pun. It was exciting, energetic and anarchic choreography from Xena Gusthart with intelligent filming from tucked away corners or hidden perceptions being projected live onto a distorted screen. It was one of my favourite parts of the musical, and added a dimension to the production I’ve never seen done before. 

The musical sees powerful renditions of All Revved Up and No Place To Go, Dead Ringer For Love, Who Needs The Young, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, and of course – Bat Out Of Hell, with the live band keeping up the pace and energy in the pit, and providing a comical moment with a car engine.

Chris Davis Studio

The shows other power couple is of course Sharon Sexton’s Sloan and Raven’s father, Falco, played by Rob Fowler – who offered a beautiful speech after the curtain call. The two of them find themselves in a somewhat toxic relationship, but one filled with sexual chemistry and grit. 

The two of them provided strong vocals, entertaining routines and impeccable comedic timing, and may leave a jaw or two agape at times. Fowler’s character reminds me somewhat of Leonardo Di Caprio’s Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street, always sporting a smart shirt and often a waistcoat. 

Chris Davis Studio

The final scene sees an emotive, moving version of I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – but we still are left in the dark about what ‘that’ is, which will remain a long-running joke for decades to come.

The musical asks: “If you don’t go over the top then how are you going to see what’s on the other side?” and this over-the-top production is exactly the answer, offering a captivating love story with all the grit and drama you could possibly desire, and is a beautiful tribute to Meat Loaf and Steinman’s life works. 

Bat Out Of Hell is at The Regent Theatre until Saturday, April 30, with tickets from £13 available here.

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