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  • Writer's pictureJohn Murray

Rock and Roll Dreams right here

In the last few weeks, the rock world was saddened to hear of the untimely death of Meat Loaf and what an artist he was. I first encountered his music with the single You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) and playing this at our rock discos and on radio and by the time of his Old Grey Whistle Test live appearance we were all hooked witnessing Paradise By The Dashboard Light performed like an opera in one song. The music of Jim Steinman was the key and those songs formed part of the story for Bat Out Of Hell The Musical which opened at the Manchester Opera House in 2017. Moving to London Coliseum in June that year they would move to Toronto before a triumphant return to the West End at the Dominion in 2018.

For the next two weeks the music comes alive at the Edinburgh Playhouse as the acclaimed touring production comes to the capital. To find out about the UK tour I spoke to James Lowrie from Glasgow who plays Denym on stage. Being so close to the action of this long tour I asked him if he had any goosebump moments observing and participating whereupon he told of the moment in song with lead Strat (played by Glenn Adamson) sings to his leading lady Raven (Martha Kirby) with her parents there. The movements and acting complement the great vocals on Its All Coming Back To Me Now. The story is based on Peter Pan where our hero Strat will not grow old but falls for Raven the daughter of Falco & Sloane so there is a degree of Romeo & Juliet in here too. Strat leads The Lost, a rebellious faction against Falco and with Raven in the middle there will be friction all round. The show opens casual enough before an explosive medley of All Revved Up and Wasted Youth. At last we can appreciate the power of the spectacular lighting and sounds like a fully blown rock concert and brilliantly led by Musical Director Robert Emery. The staging is unlike anything before it, set in the underground tunnels above this become Raven’s bedroom behind a screen but the action is filmed by a movie camera and shown on a large screen at the other side of the stage – very different. This technique forms a large part of the action even from the front of stage.

Add to this the wonderful rock score of the title song, Dead Ringer For Love, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through and the big 13-minute climactic finish of I Will Do Anything For Love plus the outstanding choreography then you can appreciate the love for this production. The energy of Glenn Adamson as Strat cannot be understated and with such a long run of eight shows a week until November 5th he may need all three of his understudies. The Meat Loaf catalogue has only big songs but these are shared by the cast and they all have their moments such as Paradise By The Dashboard Light taken by Falco (Rob Fowler) and partner Sloane played by Sharon Sexton or Dead Ringer For Love effortlessly performed by Jagwire (James Chisholm) and (not unlike Cher) Joelle Moses in the part of Zaharah.

The spectacle lived up to the expectations of this long overdue run and both Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf would have been proud of this talented cast. At the encore we were reminded of his 1987 show on that very stage as the cast took their standing ovations so richly deserved.

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical plays Edinburgh Playhouse until February 19th Tickets HERE

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