Monday, August 12, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W32: Bat out of Hell

8/09/19: Bat out of Hell
What: Jim Steinman creates a musical out of a post-apocalyptic Peter Pan and Meatloaf's song catalog.
And? I don't even know. The reviews I've read so far are way kinder than I expected; and well, a New York audience will give anything a standing ovation these days. This is one of the most inarticulate things I've seen at this production level. It feels like it was staged as a concert, then they shipped in a set and didn't bother to change the staging to respect the new spatial parameters (seriously, is there an entrance to the subway tunnel inside the Falco living room? Can anyone tell me?) (also someone should tell the stagehands moving set pieces during scenes that if they can see us, we can see them). The choreography is repetitive and communicates nothing, shoving the ensemble into numbers where they don't belong, and further problematizing the question I kept having throughout: where exactly am I meant to be looking right now? The script is a silly non sequitur of cliches, and keeps hinting that it knows how silly it is and wants to be camp, without actually understanding what camp is (for other examples of this misunderstanding, see: the most recent Met Gala). (Lena Hall and Bradley Dean both know what camp is and do their damnedest but seriously what is this show) The most valuable thing I took away from the production was a newfound respect for director Ivo van Hove's use of livestream and multimedia in his productions: there's often a lot going on, but no matter where you look, you know the story being told and even with multiple focal points, he's good at directing the eye. Anyway, Bat out of Hell is a show that I saw.

Andrew Polec, center, as Strat with the cast. Photo source.

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