Bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell arrives at Cardiff’s New Theatre this week.
Combining the magic and excitement of a musical with the immense energy of rock ‘n’ roll, Bat Out of Hell follows Strat, the forever young leader of rebellious gang ‘The Lost’ as he falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian.
Dedicated to the memories of both Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf, the Evening Standard Best New Musical thunders through powerhouse hits including I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That), Paradise By The Dashboard Light, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, Dead Ringer For Love and Bat Out of Hell.
Blackpool born Glenn Adamson, a former LIPA Stephen Sondheim Student Performer of the Year, plays the role of Strat. Glenn whose musical credits include UK Tours of American Idiot and Secret Love: The Doris Day Story, speaks to Andy Howells about Bat Out of Hell.
What fired your interest in theatre?
As a child, I got involved when my parents were breaking up. I needed an outlet and found it in theatre, then when I was at school, I was really scared to join the drama club as I didn’t feel like I fit in with the other kids. So, I found stuff like Battle of the Bands, found a band, and fronted that. We would compete and win trophies.
The two interests really fired up when I was about 18 and I went to LIPA in Liverpool to do the acting degree. I originally set out to do straight acting, but there was such a music culture in Liverpool with having that Beatles and Paul McCartney connection. You’ll never find me in Le Mis, but when I realised there was American Idiot, Rock of Ages and We Will Rock You, I thought “that’s right up my street, I can bring the two things together!”
How familiar were you with the Jim Steinman Back-Catalogue for Bat out of Hell?
Yeah, the Meat Loaf stuff plus anything he wrote for Bonnie Tyler and Céline Dion It’s amazing, because if you take that music out of the Meat Loaf realm, you really see the craftmanship that Jim had.
It’s a good point because when you listen to Jim Steinman’s material it’s also very theatrical and adapts well to the musical genre.
It’s always important to remember that Jim always intended that this would be a musical. It started life as The Dream Engine, but when he couldn’t get the script off the ground because it’s so closely related to Peter Pan, he just released it as a concept album. Look where it went, one of the top 10 best-selling albums of all time!
Can you tell me about Bat Out of Hell and your role in the show?
So, we find ourselves in a dystopian futuristic world after some catastrophic events have taken place, leaving people isolating in their homes. Raven has been cast outside by her dictator father and she has become enamoured with the lost kids that have become exposed to a virus that has stopped them aging past the age of 18. Raven meets my character Strat and they fall madly in love. It’s very much your Romeo and Juliet meets Peter Pan and all done with the Jim Steinman flair, you’ve got the big hits like I’ll Do Anything for Love, Bat Out of Hell, Crying Out Loud, Paradise by the Dashboard Light.
How much of an appeal does Bat Out of Hell have?
I think it’s interesting because we have a huge following and fanbase. They extend from the Meat Loaf to Jim Steinman fans, then people that have just discovered the musical. You’ve got a lot of teenagers that follow the musical that wouldn’t necessarily know the music from Meat Loaf, but know it from the musical they love. So, you are really seeing that music across the generations. Since Meat sadly passed and the Bat Out of Hell album is doing the rounds again there’s a whole new way for people to discover the music, in a similar way that people watching Stranger Things discovered Kate Bush.
What’s it like taking those songs out on stage, I imagine there’s a big expectation to do them well?
Yes, it is, especially since both Jim and Meat have passed. There’s a real weight to do them justice and make them proud, so I think we carry that every single night with us. We do it not only for the audiences, but also do for Jim and Meat as well.
You played American Idiot in Cardiff. Are you looking forward to returning to the city?
I love Cardiff, the Bay and the city centre. There’s such a great energy there. We’re also doing Swansea, so it will be nice to get a bit of Wales in on the tour and get a myself a cwtch!