For crying out loud, Bat Out of Hell, you took the words right out of my mouth. When somebody belts, “There ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you,” it echoes exactly my take on this eardrum-beating, hard-driving head-scratcher of a rock-tacle now at City Center. Yes, musical hot messes can be silly fun, but this one by Jim Steinman, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, soon wears out its welcome.
Fans of hits like “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “For Crying Out Loud,” “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" – many made famous by Meat Loaf, whose Bat Out of Hell albums sparked the show – may rest assured that they’re in the mix. Blaring music suffocating words ranks low on the list of issues in director Jay Scheib’s production, seen in the U.K. in 2017.
More nettlesome is that anthems and power ballads are stitched into a stupefying post-apocalyptic narrative quilt of Peter Pan (kids don’t age) and Romeo and Juliet (kids in love) where Strat (Andrew Polec) and Raven (Christina Bennington), the daughter of control freak Falco (Bradley Dean) and wacky Sloane (Lena Hall), fall rock hard. After nearly three hours of Bat-ty bombast, including grating 80s aerobics dance moves, tatty costumes and overactive video imagery, paradise is not by the dashboard light. It’s by the exit signs.