"jaw-dropping spectacle"
-The Evening Standard-

"what swagger and songs it has"
-The Guardian-

"the music goes hell-for-leather"
-The Daily Telegraph-

Sorry, Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical closed on 05 Jan 2019

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Big enough and bombastic enough to fill the Dominion’s huge stage

Critic Rating

19 April 2018, Dominion Theatre
Shaun Millis Shaun Millis
Following it’s run at the London Coliseum last year, Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has returned to the London stage for another run, this time at the Dominion Theatre, one of the West End’s largest venues.

It is clear from the opening number that the energy and budget for this show has been put into making something that is big enough and bombastic enough to fill the Dominion’s huge stage. Gigantic pieces of sets, smoke, projections, fireballs, motorbikes and even flying bats all grace the stage. Sure, it may lack subtlety and nuance, but is that what you really expect to the bed of Meatloaf songs?

The music itself is where people will love the show. Whether you are a Meatloaf fan or not, you will have heard many of the big hits such as ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’, ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ and of course ‘Bat Out of Hell’ itself, many times before and for good reason. They are big, brilliant theatrical songs, which are not only ideal for the singles chart, but also for the West End stage.

The orchestration of these songs is well done and they transform the singles into lively on stage numbers, with some impressive vocal performances from the cast, particularly Wayne Robinson and Danielle Steers in their supporting roles. Andrew Polec as well, in the leading role of Strat feels like he was born to play this role, with a frantic and energetic stage presence and a voice which is surprisingly like Meatloaf’s.

Where Bat Out of Hell falls down however, is in its disappointingly weak plot. The Romeo and Juliet style story of adolescent love, in a dystopian Neverland-like future where eighteen-year olds are destined to never grow older, while the evil Falco controls the population with brutal hordes of police, could almost work as a plot, but sadly doesn’t. Its disparate influences are perhaps too fractured and confused and the musical doesn’t successfully pull them together in any coherent way. This isn’t helped when the acting doesn’t always live up to the vocals and some sequences don’t quite manage to walk the line between enjoyably bombastic and cringe-worthiness.

That said, Bat Out of Hell is definitely a unique experience, and for Meatloaf fans, an excellent chance to re-live his most memorable songs in a new setting.

Reviewed by Shaun Millis

Henry Hitchings
The script may be thin, but the songs are never less than bombastic. Director Jay Scheib favours two styles of performance — loud, and louder. His cast are equal to this, and besides the superb Polec there’s glorious work from Danielle Steers and Sharon Sexton. Equally impressive is Jon Bausor’s design, which is like an expensive tasting menu — a mix of swanky grandiosity, deranged fantasy and whimsical surprises — though the less said about the ungainly choreography the better.
Mark Lawson
Andrew Polec, a young American in his UK debut, commands the stage as a shock-haired, wild-eyed Strat, with Christina Bennington’s Raven giving more life than the writer has to the stereotype of a pampered daughter. Stalking each other round the stage, they memorably fight for vocal and physical dominance while duetting a song that is classic Steinman in both its title and bloated emotions: For Crying Out Loud.
Dominic Cavendish
Running to an overlong three hours, and cramming in greatest hits (and not so-great hits), Bat Out of Hell won’t win awards for reinventing the musical. Set in a dystopian future of generic oppression and mutinous youth it recalls We Will Rock You, but the book is even weaker than that long-running Queen cash-in, spinning out a yarn involving a Romeo-like renegade called Strat, and Raven, a princessy type confined to a high-rise boudoir by controlling, frustrated parents.
Daisy Bowie-Sell
Director Jay Scheib knows how to frame a song and each is a focused set piece. He makes sure that though the tunes may not work within the whole, as individual moments they are mind-blasting. The tiny bits of script - also written by Steinman - are fairly weak, falling back too often on the overblown cheese that many of the songs also do.
Andrzej Lukowski
The one undeniably top-drawer thing about it all is Polec: he has a bug-eyed, borderline feral intensity that invests ‘Bat Out of Hell’ with a genuine sense of danger. If he’d been some sort of sensitive innocent type it might have been the death of the show, but he invests it with the thrill of genuine unpredictability, and he’s no slouch in the vocal range.
Mark Shenton
There's a lot of generic body-popping dancing (choreographed by Emma Portner), but it is the excessive use of video (live and filmed, as the actors are stalked by a cameraperson and those images projected onto gauze screens), massive lighting rig by Patrick Woodroffe and brilliant sound by Gareth Owen that keep the energy up.