Reviewed by Joanna Woodburn
As a huge fan of Meatloaf’s iconic album, Bat out of Hell, it was with great excitement that I arrived at The New Theatre, Oxford for the opening night of Jim Steinman’s musical Bat out of Hell, featuring the music of Meatloaf and winner of the Best Musical in the London Evening Standard Theatre awards.
Situated in the centre of the city, the New Theatre Oxford is the perfect venue for an evening of great entertainment. There is parking within walking distance as well as an excellent Park and Ride service and the theatre is only a ten minute walk from both the railway and bus stations. The New Theatre has an impressive auditorium, seats are comfortable with ample leg room and the theatre is completely access friendly.
Bat out of Hell is a show which is all about the music – guaranteeing two hours of irresistible escapism – my advice would be don’t overthink the plot and just enjoy the magnificent renditions of incredible songs such as ‘I’d do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ or ‘You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth’. Nostalgically anticipating your own personal favourite as well as pondering the question ‘On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?’ is all part of the fun!
Set in a dystopian future, Obsidian, which was formally Manhattan is a bleak, desolate place ruled by ruthless dictator Falco and policed by his ruthless riot squad. Living in squalor in the city are ‘The Lost’, children who are trapped having had their DNA frozen at 18 years old. Strat is one of ‘The Lost’, a Peter Pan like figure who falls in love with Raven, who unfortunately is Falco’s daughter – and destined to age naturally.
All the huge, spectacular songs from the multi-million selling album, Bat out of Hell feature, with some fine additions added in. In true Meatloaf style, the very talented cast never hold back, with full energy and commitment they meet the expectations of such big songs with outrageously stunning theatrical performances.
Glenn Adamson and Kellie Gnauck are brilliant as the star crossed lovers. Adamson as the wild eyed Strat is mesmerising and perfect for the part, commanding the stage with a physical, energetic and confident performance. Gnauck is also superb as Raven, she empowers the part with sensitivity and note perfect vocals. Rob Fowler as Falco and Sharon Sexton as Sloane triumph with their hilarious double act, with their perfect comic timing, powerful vocals and chemistry they are a classy act.
The staging of the production is unique and at times, jaw dropping, switching from cinematic and sophisticated to cranked up scenes which will assault the senses. We loved it from start to finish! The touching dedication to the late Steinman was the perfect finish to a fantastic night. Huge congratulations to the hard working cast – the standing ovation at the end was very well deserved!
All revved up and no place to go? Bat out of Hell is the place to go! Rocking out at the New Theatre, Oxford this week and is not to be missed!
Tickets cost from £13.00 plus transaction fee of £3.65
Bat out of Hell is at New Theatre, Oxford from Mon 11th October – Sat 16th October 2021, for more information or to book tickets visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/bat-out-of-hell/new-theatre-oxford/ or call 0333 009 6690
24-26 George St, Oxford OX1 2AG