Bat Boy the Musical
Venue: London Palladium
Cast: Jordan Luke Gage, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Trevor Dion Nicholas, Jodie Steele, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Glenn Adamson, Kyle Birch, Gillian Kirkpatrick, Shane O’Riordan, Jenny O’Leary, Rumi Sutton, Thomas Vernal and Edward Flynn Haddon

Edgar is a half boy/half bat creature who is discovered in a cave in a rural American town. The local sheriff brings Bat Boy to the home of the town veterinarian, Dr Parker, where he is eventually accepted as a member of the family. However, resentment and a dreadful secret about his shocking origins threaten to turn the town, and everyone he loves against him.

I went into Bat Boy knowing very little about the production, other than it was a cult classic among theatre lovers and that they had an exceptional cast for the one-off event at the iconic London Palladium. Think of cliches in classic horror films, and Bat Boy is all of them merged into one: mad doctors and misunderstood monsters being the leading few.

Bat Boy follows the story of Edgar, who is half boy and half bat. When he is discovered by teens in a cave and attacks one of the locals, there's uproar for Bat Boy to be killed. However, Meredith and Shelley take him into their home and welcome him as one of their own, and name him Edgar. Dr Parker, Meredith's veterinarian husband, is unimpressed to say the least. Chaos ensues, secrets are revealed, and Hope Falls will never be the same again.

If you took the sweet, misunderstood nature of Edward Scissorhands and blended it with a dash of Rocky Horror's campness, and a pinch of Frankenstein's darkness, you'd have the recipe for Bat Boy. The show is very tongue in cheek and is not to be taken too seriously. But it's deliciously camp, wickedly funny, and in the words of Edgar, "splendid".

The cast for Bat Boy was sensational. Jordan Luke Gage shone as Edgar. His animalistic mannerisms, his quirkiness and incredible make up and prosthetics made Gage almost unrecognisable. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (deservedly) received the most laughs of the evening, and her ridiculously over-the-top portrayal of Meredith was perfection. She quite clearly understood the assignment of the role.

The Reverend was played by Tosh Wanogho-Maud, and his rendition of "A Joyful Noise" was a true highlight of the evening. Other standout performances were, "Show You a Thing or Two", "Comfort and Joy", and of course, "Apology to a Cow". The atmosphere after Jordan Luke Gage finished that number was electric

As this was a concert, there was minimal staging, but they made the best of the humungous stage they had. I feel as though this production would work better somewhere more intimate, as the stage did feel bare at times, and also its size pulled your attention away from the scenes.

One aspect I must mention is the sound. It was absolutely abysmal. I've been to a few concerts at the Palladium and it always seems to be the same, which is such a shame. The microphones were coming in too late, and the music was often too loud and drowned out the performers. I sat in row J of the stalls and struggled to hear.

Having been unfamiliar with the show before last night, I had little to compare it too. However, I understand that "Children, Children" had been removed, which seems a pivotal song for the piece (albeit controversial) and has helped fill in a few gaps to the storyline. As well as this, I think the audience were unsure what was supposed to be funny or serious at times, because the production hadn't quite chosen which tone it was aiming for, which made for a few awkward moments.

However, it's a wickedly funny production, and I think in the right theatre and with changes to sound, Bat Boy the Musical could have a great run in the West End. I would love to see the show again in a smaller setting, and I hope this isn't the end of Bat Boy's life in London. It's absolutely bonkers, witty and dark. The perfect show for a classic horror lover like myself.

You can follow Bat Boy the Musical's journey on their Instagram, BatBoyLdn.

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