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Bat Out Of Hell at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Musical extravaganza signals a rocking start to 2022
Many compositions by legendary songwriter Jim Steinman are mini operatic dramas about love, life and death, so imagine the impact when 19 of them are brought together in a dynamic stage musical. It was certainly a feast for the senses at the opening night of Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical at The Alexandra in Birmingham.

Everything seemed over the top and excessive, matching Steinman's tunes, many of which were taken into the charts by the mighty Meat Loaf. However, it was a track from Steinman's solo 1981 Bad for Good album that began the show – the spoken Love and Death and the American Guitar. It set the tone for the evening: a mix of lyrical intensity and bombastic rock and roll.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Theatre, Rock Music, Glenn Adamson, Martha Kirby, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton
Spectacular: Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical (pic: Chris Davis Studio)


The story mixes elements of Romeo and Juliet and Peter Pan to chronicle the tale of Strat and Raven, two would-be lovers from different sides of the tracks. The twist is that this is a dystopian future where some of the population, including Strat and his 'Lost Boys' gang, have been subjected to chemicals that keep them aged 18 forever. Raven, her father (tyrannical ruler Falco) and mother (the continually tipsy Sloane), are unaffected, with Falco determined to violently wipe out The Lost and keep Raven and Falcon apart.

The production is full of imagination and innovation. The set features big screens, onto which is projected a live feed of the action captured by an on-stage camera operator. One side of the stage is dominated by 'Falco Towers' where we see Raven trapped in her room. The rest of the stage comprises The Lost's underground dwelling. Along the way, the audience is treated to thrilling effects like columns of fire, glitter cannons and a full-size Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Theatre, Rock Music, Glenn Adamson, Martha Kirby, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton
Motorcycling: Glenn Adamson and Martha Kirby (pic: Chris Davis Studio)


It's the music that stands out, though, and the cast pull out all the stops to ensure that this tour is a fitting tribute to the memory of Jim Steinman who died in April, 2021. Glenn Adamson excels as Strat, manically belting out the epic Bat Out Of Hell and joining Martha Kirby (Raven) to duet on Making Love Out of Nothing At All (originally a hit for Air Supply in 1983).

Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical veteran Rob Fowler returns to the 2022 cast as Falco. His heated relationship with fellow show original Sharon Sexton as his wife Sloane is always watchable, none more so than when they relive their teenage romance to the strains of Paradise By the Dashboard Light. It's no surprise that, away from Bat Out Of Hell, they perform together in concert as Sexton & Fowler.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Theatre, Rock Music, Glenn Adamson, Martha Kirby, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton
Duet: Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton (pic: Chris Davis Studio)


I was also impressed with former The Voice finalist Joelle Moses as Zahara who duets powerfully with James Chisholm (Jagwire) on Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad.

The big numbers featuring the all-singing, all-dancing company are exceptional, giving the show the feel of a major rock concert. All Revved Up With No Place To Go is a fine opener, while I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) brings the show to an exciting close. Let's also acknowledge the brilliant band of musicians, hidden away under the stage, directed by Robert Emery.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Theatre, Rock Music, Glenn Adamson, Martha Kirby, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton
Revved Up: The cast of Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical (Chris Davis Studio)


The encore is a surprise – Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere) from the Pandora's Box album, Original Sin, and Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell II. The audience was encouraged to film the encore and post it on social media to show everyone that theatre is alive and kicking. So get on the highway to the Alex before January 15, the date Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical departs for pastures new.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Theatre, Rock Music, Glenn Adamson, Martha Kirby, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton
Venue: The Alexandra, Birmingham
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Why? The legendary anthems of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf are brought to life.
When: Until January 15, 2022
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: The Alexandra, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4DS
Cost: From £13 plus fees
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