Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical

Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical

★★★

(London Coliseum, 16 June 2017)

Step aside Monteverdi; step aside Mozart; the London Coliseum has temporarily swapped classical music for rock opera and it sounds great. The massive auditorium, in which Baroque music sometimes seems lost, now reverberates with electric guitars and drums and, for the first time that I’ve seen, was packed to the rafters. Jim Steinman’s new musical is a loving tribute to Meat Loaf’s exuberant, much-loved, irresistibly singable album, which was (incredibly) released forty years ago this year. With all the favourite songs present and correct, and a very strong cast, there are moments of sheer exhilaration. The music has lost none of its power. Fans will love it, though one comes for the music, not for the musical, which shuffles a sequence of set pieces into a lacklustre narrative that frequently feels contrived. This messy but exuberant show is one for existing adherents of the Cult of the Bat: it’s unlikely to make many new converts.

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