As I agreed with another reviewer at the first of several singalong performances of Bat Out of Hell The Musical, there isn’t much to review that hasn’t already been reviewed, by ourselves and by others. So, I make no apology for relative brevity here. Lyrics were displayed on a dot matrix screen held above the stage – but not all of them: the audience was not expected to sing through the entire musical. Just as well, as some of these Jim Steinman songs are quite exhausting to sing properly when seated: “I can baaa-rely recaaaa-ll, but it’s aaaallll coming baaaack to meeee noooooowwww!”
That didn’t, of course, stop those in the audience who knew all the words anyway – and the whole point of a singalong show is that people, um, sing along. But there seemed to be a special place reserved, at least in my section, for the incomparable Danielle Steers: the lyrics to ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad’ flashed and flashed, and nobody stirred: even here, people wanted to hear Ms Steers. Little wonder, then, that Steers’ interval tweet read: “The atmosphere tonight is off the charts!!! BUT you can sing LOUDER!!! COME OOOOONNNN!!!”
The show was, mind you, just as terrific when the audience’s voices were out in force, for ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’, and it’s only in the course of singing the songs that one realises how emotionally stirring some of them are. The account of domestic violence in ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are’ is made particularly harrowing when singing lyrics like, “There were endless winters and the dreams would freeze / Nowhere to hide and no leaves on the trees / And my father’s eyes were blank as he hit me again, and again, and again”.
I think that’s the beauty of shows like ‘Bat’, or ‘BOOH’ as it is more commonly known to its fans – there are different aspects to be taken away with every repeat visit. The atmosphere was expectant, and the show is so loud anyway that the pros on stage were never going to be drowned out by the audience, even if every single one of us screamed every line. I don’t think the singalong format would work for every West End musical, but it certainly does for this one.
London lad, loving life and all that it has to offer.