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Showing posts sorted by date for query Glenn Adamson. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Bat Out of Hell (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Bat Out Of Hell (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 18th January 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

There aren’t many touring shows where fire, confetti and belts that melt your faces off are the key selling points, but that’s what makes Bat Out of Hell such a unique and refreshing addition to the touring circuit.

The jukebox musical, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman has had various incarnations since it originally opened in Manchester in 2017. From London to Germany to New York, it’s now entertaining audiences across the country with its larger than life performances.

This certainly isn’t a show that relies on its book which is sometimes hard to follow and all in all is very bare and ridiculous. Instead it is helmed by the stellar effects and outstanding solo and ensemble performances that make it such a high octane and enjoyable show.

Choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart is snappy and incredibly tight as well as being very fitting for the apocalyptic-place-like-no-other Obsidian where the musical is set. This is further helped and developed by Jon Bausor’s grungy set and Patrick Woodroffe‘s lighting which both shocks the audience into watching as well as literally highlighting more tender moments on stage.

Of course over the various productions there have been a number of changes. Perhaps most noticeable with this current iteration, is the smaller cast and cut down set. Despite being somewhat noticeable if you’ve seen the show before, these cuts don’t mean there’s any less oomph or energy and in fact, a Tuesday night performance in Wimbledon, felt like a Saturday show (complete with some audience members who wanted their own solos!) In many ways, it’s a show which thrives off of its audience, with many loyal fans supporting it in every possible way. And despite it sometimes detracting from the performers on stage, it’s quite nice to see and hear people so engaged and uplifted by a performance after so long not having live theatre. It's really a show which encourages community and enjoyment, two things we could all use a little more of.



Bat Out of Hell is very much cast led and excels due to its incomparably talented performers who are full out in every moment. As the caged daughter Raven, Martha Kirby is excellent, showing both a tempestuous side and a softer, head over heels in love side. Alongside this her vocals are extraordinary, with a number of stand out moments including Heaven Can Wait and All Coming Back to Me Now. Matha's stage presence is magnetic and it's just a 10/10 performance all round. Alongside her as the male lead is Glenn Adamson who is bold and boisterous with his performance. He brings a kind of frenzied side to Strat and is utterly engaging, as well as giving vocals that soar and shine.

Another change from past London productions is the reworked  placement and character of Valkyrie who becomes one of the main trio of The Lost. As Valkyrie, Kellie Gnauck is a complete powerhouse who steals the show several times and adds a lovely new dimension to many songs thanks to her fine tuned harmonies. Bat Out of Hell veterans Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton continue to triumph and delight as Raven's parents, Falco and Sloane. Their comedic timing is marvellous, as are their vocals and ability to switch moods on a dime. It's a joy to watch them perform together and with the other cast members. What Part of My Body Hurts The Most is a real high point of the show.

Everything is brought together by the ensemble who are electric and so in sync with one another. What's also great about this show is how you can watch various mini plot lines unfurl throughout and the ensemble especially do a great job of highlighting anxieties, relationships etc... within the group. 

If it's a sophisticated narrative you're after, this categorically isn't the show for you, but if you want to escape reality, hear top notch vocals and have an evening that's truly like no other, then fly down to see Bat Out of Hell on tour.

Bat Out Of Hell plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 29th January before continuing its tour

photo credit: Chris Davis Studio

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Bat Out of Hell (Tour), Manchester Opera House | Review



Bat Out of Hell (UK Tour) 
Manchester Opera House
Reviewed on Saturday 11th September by Hope Priddle
★★★★★

Hitting the highway until late 2022, after several staggering runs in Toronto, New York and London, Bat Out Of Hell returned to its proverbial Manchester home this weekend. A stunning realisation of Jim Steinman’s life’s work and Meat Loaf’s iconic trilogy, the rock-opera is set in the dystopian city of Obsidian, a wasteland governed by the despotic Falco in the wake of a chemical war. Falco embarks upon a campaign to rebuild his metropole, which has since been overrun by a gang of feral, mutated youths – The Lost - frozen forever at the age of eighteen. As their leader Strat falls for the tyrant’s daughter Raven, an epic drama unfolds.


Bat Out Of Hell has undergone numerous changes across its various iterations; this new touring production is no exception, having been understandably shortened and scaled back. The book, which was already somewhat nonsensical, has suffered because of this. Amendments to the script, which were clearly made to clarify and accelerate the storyline, are overly literal, with clunky dialogue often betraying the visceral atavism of Steinman’s poetry. However, it’s foolish to think that anyone coming to see Bat Out Of Hell is after a refined and sophisticated narrative. Bat Out Of Hell is bursting with knowing irony and sarcasm – it has its tongue firmly situated in its cheek throughout. It’s a magical fever dream that invites you to suspend your disbelief.


Incoherency is irrelevant when you have a cast as stellar as this one - a cast who perform with such raw passion and hunger, you absolutely cannot take your eyes off them. As the black-hearted leader of The Lost and ultimate manic pixie dream boy, Glenn Adamson is mesmerising as Strat. His powerful performance of the titular song blew the roof of the Manchester Opera House. Adamson shares sizzling chemistry with Martha Kirby, our atypical teenage ingĂ©nue Raven, who perfectly captures the character’s fearless spirit and delivers flawless vocals. Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton triumph as Raven’s parents, Falco and Sloane. While the couple are outrageously comic and camp, their failing marriage inspires genuine pathos as they reflect upon What Part of My Body Hurts the Most. Sultry and savvy, Joelle Moses embodies the role of Zahara; James Chisholm is charming as  tough yet huge-hearted Jagwire, and Killian Thomas Lefevre plays a wholly endearing Tink, the youngest member of The Lost. Whilst supporting characters Valkyrie (Kellie Gnauck) and Ledoux (Danny Whelan) demonstrate stunning vocal prowess, the loss of an all-male rendition of Objects In The Rear View Mirror during the second-act, is felt massively.  In previous productions, the number provided an emotional antidote to examples of sexually-charged masculinity and it was always refreshing to see raging machismo tempered by platonic male love.


The ensemble are electric, executing Xena Gusthart’s dynamic choreography with real attitude. They are complimented by a spectacular use of multi-media effects, including live video. Action is televised, Big-Brother style, across the auditorium, with an on-stage camera woman magnifying the drama. Given that the cast have free-reign over Jon Bausor’s multi-levelled post apocalyptic playground, this technique proves highly effective in capturing every little detail. The show is a huge assault on the senses, in the best way possible; expect a cacophony of colour, light, sound (and fire)!


If you’re after an evening like no other, exploding with hedonistic pleasure and unadulterated euphoria, head out on your Harley and get yourself a ticket…before they’re too hot to handle. 


Bat Out of Hell is currently touring the UK and Ireland


photo credit: Chris Davis Studio

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

American Idiot (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


American Idiot (UK Tour) 
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 14th May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Taking Wimbledon by storm, American Idiot is a maelstrom of epic performances, high intensity choreography, a killer score and fantastic acting. Taking the music of Greenday and combining it with a story about three men facing darkness and pain on their journeys to finding something they can believe in; it is a very well constructed show which packs all the right punches.

Sara Perks' design is simplistic but does complete justice to the theme and aesthetic of the show. Screens are cleverly used to show various emotions and flashbacks and to emphasise certain scenes. These also allow original American Idiot cast member Lucas Rush to be cleverly worked into the show as the Rock 'n' Roll Boyfriend, these little details make the show stand out and no doubt are a factor in keeping loyal fans returning time after time.

Tim Deiling's lighting is suitably in your face, but equally precise and emotive in the higher intensity moments of the show. Chris Whybrow also achieves good balance between creating blast-your-ears-off numbers and more acoustic sounding pieces. For a show which on the surface may seem a bit of a mish-mash, it's very well conceived and carried out.


The American Idiot cast are uniformly strong as they perform Racky Plews' choreography with bite and aggression, and give note-perfect vocal performances. Tom Milner is darkly captivating as Johnny who leads the show with spades of commitment. Milner's breakdown moment is act two is utterly superb. The audience can physically feel each others tension as Milner has mastered controlling a crowd with every breath. His well-acted and well-sung performance is impeccable. 

Sam Lavery is a vocal powerhouse who brings a sexiness and sadness to the show. He vocals are smooth and captivating. Luke Friend give a manic and electric performance with killer vocals and a performance which crackles and fizzles throughout; and Samuel Pope plays the troubled Will with sincerity and subtlety. As Tunny, Joshua Dowen gives a striking performance with a great character arc. 

Another stand out is Glenn Adamson who captures our attention whenever he's on stage and who provides particularly strong vocals in his solo moments. Alexandra Robinson, Shekinah McFarlane and Siobhan O'Driscoll are especially memorable throughout. 


Musical highlights include 21 Guns, Wake Me Up When September Ends, St Jimmy and Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life), but the whole score is performed superbly well.

Whether you've grown up with Greenday, or like me just know a few of the most popular songs, you'll certainly enjoy this raucous show. The storyline itself is pretty thin but thanks to the outstanding vocal performances and incredibly emotive and shocking scenes, American Idiot provides a fun, feisty night out. 

American Idiot runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 18th March 2019 before continuing its tour

photo credit: Mark Dawson Photography