In Conversation With... The Cast of Bat Out of Hell | Interview | Stagey Sunday


Welcome to the last week of Bat Out of Hell, Stagey Sunday! We're going out with a bang with TWO new posts. The first is an interview and look at some of the costumes with resident choreographer, Xena Gusthart which you can see here. This post is an interview with a selection of cast members with questions asked by you! Some answers are still coming in so you may just get a bonus Bat post later this week so keep an eye out!


What do you think makes the show appeal you both old and new fans of Jim Steinman/Meatloaf? 
Rob Copeland (BatFish): The beauty of Jim Steinman’s music is that it hits you on the first listen and then has you hooked. So whether you are new to the music, or an old fan, you are almost guaranteed to leave musically satisfied. His music is so diverse and rich that it’s verging on a rock opera, hence him regularly being dubbed the Wagner of rock. For those who love the albums, it’s the beauty of seeing these story heavy songs brought to life on stage that you have been picturing all these years and, let’s face it, we are incredibly lucky to get to do it on an totally epic scale of set and general production. We regularly get spontaneous applause in the middle of the song Bat Out Of Hell and we are only half way through! 

Rob Fowler (Falco): Our show appeals to all generations because there are misunderstood teenagers and dysfunctional marriages in all walks of life therefore I feel that the audiences of our show really identify with our characters. 

Wayne Robinson (Jagwire): The variety in talent, the cast bring so much diversity to the show and there's something for everyone who loves a live show. 

Sharon Sexton (Sloane): People have a huge connection with this music. Jim captures emotions musically like no one else I know. His songs are like rollercoasters that bring you on an epic journey. Just when you think a number is ending there is another twist and a new feeling. Also his lyrics are poetry and often deal with the idea of eternal youth and growing old and trying to hang on to what keeps us human. I think this type of storytelling brings older people back to their youth, giving them that taste of nostalgia and I think it equally appeals to young people who are just starting to get a sense of their own life. Wow. That’s deep. But that’s what makes his music special and makes this show appeal to so many generations. 


What’s your favourite song to sing and what’s your favourite song that you don’t sing? 
Danielle Steers (Zahara): Favourite song to sing aside from the obvious Two Out Of Three, my fave song is actually Rock and Roll Dreams! I get goosebumps every night singing that final chorus out front and seeing the audience, it’s such an incredible feeling! 

Favourite song I don’t sing, would have to be It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, I love the harmonies and sing along backstage all the time! It’s so powerful! 


Can you sum up having Giovanni as a partner every night in 5 words? 
Charlotte Anne Steen (Liebeswooosh): I’d sum Gio up as a dance partner/love interest in 5 words as... reliable, consistent, fun, passionate and caring. We have a lot of fun on stage and I’m very lucky to have him as my partner. 


You’ve recently opened an online store selling your art, do you have any other hidden talents? 
Danielle Steers: Hidden talents? Hmmm, I bake, I play the piano, I sew, I’m good at cleaning.... I’m the perfect housewife really! 


In Batchat you mentioned putting salt in Rob’s mouth on April Fools… can you expand on that story…? 
Sharon Sexton: Um, no. ;-) 

Basically there was a part in Who Needs the Young where I used to place my hand across Rob’s mouth when he sung a big note, and then I’d say my line before taking my hand away. Sometimes if he was feeling cheeky he’d lick my hand while it was there. So on April fools day, in the wings there happened to be some vaseline & some salt sachets ...and well - he got his commupance. But he gave as good as he got. I think in Paradise I ended up with a mouthful of chocolate... 


If you could change one thing about Falco, what would it be? 
Rob Fowler: If I could change one thing about Falco, it would be that the incident with Tink does not occur. 


How is your Jagwire similar/different to others? 
Wayne Robinson: I’ve never seen or heard the previous Jagwires so I can't comment on the finer details of similarity or difference. However we are similar when it comes to the book and score and completely different when it comes to costume who I thank John the designer for.  He's done such an awesome job. 


Do any of you have ideas about the backstory of your characters?
Rob Copeland: Well we sell a beer front of house that The Lost have made to fund their life style. My character (BatFish) is first seen in the on stage Dive Bar so I like the idea that he runs that operation. Essentially he is a party animal who brews his own beer and sells it to support The Lost. 

Rob Fowler: My ideas of the backstory for Falco is as simple as he was once part of The Lost and he had to grow up when his wife fell pregnant with their daughter Raven. 

Wayne Robinson: I'm quite similar to Jag in reality when it comes to his passions and even the way he conducts himself, I pretty much just play a younger version of myself each night, if I had any ideas to share it would be aspects and events from my own past but I won't share those yet. 

Sharon Sexton: I think Sloane has hardened in her ageing and with life. She’s lost a lot of her sparkle when we meet her. In my mind she was a wild free spirited feisty rebel, and we see glimpses of it. I see her having a very tested relationship with her parents, particularly her father which is why seeing Falco and Raven struggle upsets her so much. And is what eventually brings her back home. 


What’s the average number of costume changes per person? 
Rob Copeland: I have seven costume changes in the show, and actually appear in one song twice as two different characters... (I will let the shows super fans work out which one that is), so actually it’s not too bad a show for costume changes for me. I know my mates doing Les Mis round the corner from us have a lot more than that in act 1 alone, so I can’t complain really! Plus we have an amazing team of dressers, wardrobe and wigs who make it all painless and easy. We would be lost without them (no pun intended). 

Rob Fowler: I’m confident in saying I probably have the most challenging costume changes during the show. In total 12. 

Sharon Sexton: Oh gosh no idea. For me 9. 


The show is constantly evolving, how often do you have rehearsals for changes? 
Rob Fowler: Normally changes with the new show will be rehearsed before the opening and during the previews. 

Sharon Sexton: The show has kind of settled now. Usually we don’t ever change anything for the sake of change. Something has to be not working for a long time and discussed and edited and tested before we will even attempt to put anything different in so I think we won’t see any changes for a while. Though we are constantly in rehearsing covers, promos and events. 

Wayne Robinson: There's always some tweaking going on every so often. 


What’s your favourite costume you wear? 
Sharon Sexton: Pencil skirt and red silk blouse and belt. In it she feels strong but still womanly and I adore those power shoes. 


What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on stage? 
Charlotte Anne Steen: I got hit straight in the stomach by the dolls head that Rob Fowler bats across the stage in Land of the Pig- I turned around and saw everyone trying not to laugh at me as I was lying there pretending to be injured! 


What’s the hardest part of the show for you? 
Sharon Sexton: Vocals. Particularly, All Coming Back to Me Now. Myself and Christina Bennington had to find a key to suit us both that meant the song wasn’t too low for her but not too high for me, so it’s in a key that tests both of us and it’s now higher than the original key - so it’s right at the top of my belt and an extremely long note which myself and rob has to work very hard to sustain matching time, breath, support and emotion. 


If you could swap costumes with anyone, who would you choose? 
Charlotte Anne Steen: I’d swap costumes with Mordema played by Emily Benjamin, I like the silver futuristic look of her costume. 


What’s your funniest stage door experience been? 
Rob Copeland: Well… there are two cast members called Rob... myself and the wonderful actor who plays Falco, Rob Fowler. I understudy Rob and we have similar facial hair/colour etc so I can see why this happened…A few weeks ago I left stage door, turned right immediately and walked briskly as usual to get home (I have a one year old daughter who has me up early so tend to try to get home as quickly as possible after the show ends). 

A woman chased after me shouting: “Rob! Rob! Please will you sign my programme, I have seen the show lots of times now and I never manage to grab you and I think you are brilliant!” 

I blush with a smile agreeing to sign her programme whilst pretending not to love that someone has finally clocked how ruddy brilliant I am as BatFish! It’s a miracle (considering I have no solo lines in the show..) 

She opens it up and points towards Rob Fowler’s photo in the programme. 

I then awkwardly have to explain that my name is Rob but I am not THAT Rob and she then very half-heartedly asked me to sign my biog clearly to make me feel less bad about myself...even though she wasn’t that bothered and was looking over her shoulder for the real Rob Fowler throughout... Excellent! Haha. 

Rob Fowler: Coolest experience at the stage door all the fans singing happy birthday to me! 

Sharon Sexton: Um probably when I’m not recognised at all and I offer to take photos of the others 


What are some of the good and bad traits of your character? 
Rob Fowler: Good and bad traits of my character, would be on one side he’s overprotective and on the other side everything he does is due to the amount of love he has for his family. 

Wayne Robinson: Jag has no bad traits he's pure love 

Sharon Sexton: Good- She has a heart of gold underneath the frosty. She sees the good in everyone. She doesn’t hold a grudge. And she’s a peacemaker. 

Bad - she’s too soft sometimes. She is a little spoilt. She’s a bit vain and material things matter too much to her. 


How do you maintain your vocal health singing the intense Steinman music every night? 
Rob Copeland: Well we have a 15 minute vocal warm up every day which I make sure I do thoroughly and it’s other than that it’s just stamina that we have built up over time. When we first started rehearsals my voice was very tired every evening, but I have a pretty solid vocal technique now so have yet to experience any vocal problems. I also drink what feels like about 400 litres of water during every show and have cut down on alcohol intake as that can dry your voice out. I try and eat fairly well also. If you have a healthy diet it will only have a positive effect on your voice. We also have regular vocal sessions with our shows vocal coach Fiona McDougal and she really is excellent. 

Rob Fowler: To be able to sing Jim Steinman songs in the original key eight shows a week half of the challenge is being born with the ability, the second half of the challenge is taking care, this being as cliche and boring as it comes, steam, drink water, sleep, eat healthy and exercise. The show may only last three hours but the work starts before we get to the theatre 

Wayne Robinson: Careful warm up and not talking just to be talking. 

Sharon Sexton: Warm up is key for me. I can tell everything when I warm up, exactly how I need to pace myself and what I need to do mouth shape wise to get through if I’m tired. Also I drink water and start getting ready at least two hours before the show. Tongue muscle massage and steam only when necessary. Other than its muscle memory. 


Can you sum up your fans in one word? 
Rob Copeland: I have never been in a show with such passionate fans. It’s really amazing to see. There is something about this show that people really feel is personal to them, and I love being part of that. 

Rob Fowler: To sum up the fans in one word we have to be ... outstanding... but aren’t we all :-) 

Wayne Robinson: I'd say the fans are loyal 

Sharon Sexton: Inspiring 

A huge thank you to the cast, crew and everyone at Bat for being part of this episode and the whole series. I hope you've enjoyed Bat Out of Hell Stagey Sunday!

To finish with a bang, we have a giveaway for you to win 2 tickets to Bat Out of Hell* To enter, RT this tweet and send us your best Bat look whether it be a makeover, an Andrew Polec impression, your own Bat choreography... the more creative the better!

Bat Out of Hell is currently at the Dominion Theatre until 27th October 2018

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Photo credit: Specular

*T&C’s:
1) This entitles the prize winner to two tickets to Bat Out of Hell the Musical at the Dominion Theatre.
2) Prize to be redeemed by Thursday 23rd August 2018.
3) Valid on Monday to Thursday performances only
4) Tickets are subject to availability.
5) No cash alternative.
6) Travel to and from the theatre and any additional expenses incurred are not included within this prize.

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