Seen Live: Bat Out of Hell — Das Musical

Last night, Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell — The Musical had its final West End performance. The the US tour is, well, what it is.

But don’t be sad: Jim Steinman’s “Bat Out of Hell” — Das Musical mit den Welthits von Meat Loaf, the German production currently running at the Stage Metronom Theater in Oberhausen, is every bit as good, and definitely worth visiting.

Sure, they’ve translated even the songs to German, and Oberhausen might not be as exciting to visit as London, or Toronto, or New York (or even Manchester), but give it a try.

Scene from Bat Out of Hell The Musical: Strat is singing on top of a motorbike, with a group of dancers behind him.

First off: the cast is excellent. Robin Reitsma is perfectly fine as Strat, Willemijn Verkaik is a huge star and, personally, it’s a shame she can’t show how good she really is until she completely nails “Wo tut mir der Schmerz am meisten weh” (the German “What Part of My Body Hurts the Most”) halfway through the second act, and Alex Melcher isn’t a slouch either. (Fun fact: Melcher was the original understudy for Alfred in the 1997 Vienna production of Tanz der Vampire — but then there are like ten Tanz-alumni in the cast.) Special shout out to Bathoni Puplampu, who played Zahara. She’s got pretty big shoes to fill, but she did it.

It shouldn’t surprise you that the show is self-indulgently spectacular. It has the same set as the West End production, it has all the dancing and all the pyro and all the special effects and all the confetti — Oh. My. God. All that confetti. And most importantly, the music is exactly the same and just as good as ever. But the words are in German.

German language version of “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”

Now, as far as I can judge, the translation is excellent. There’s great stuff in there, and they didn’t make the mistake of trying to stay all too close to the English lyrics. For example, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” becomes “For You It’s Always Two Against One” when translated back. That might not be exactly the same sentiment, but it does get the meaning of the song across.

(Aside: I can understand German fans being a bit apprehensive about hearing these songs you love in your own language. I had the same feelings about the Flemish production of Tanz, but that worked out okay for me.)

My German isn’t actually that good (the only failing mark I ever took home on a report card, thank you very much), but I can follow it well enough. And while I have to admit that most of the dialogue went completely past me, that didn’t matter much. You see, because I wasn’t really getting what was being said, I just had to follow the emotion. And Holy Sweet Mother of All Things Bright and Shiny, the emotions. Bat — Das Musical gave me *all* the feels. Goosebumps, sobbing, exultation, triumph, the whole damn range of ‘em. We said as much to Robin Reitsma after the show at the stage door, and he thought that high praise.

All in all: Jim Steinman’s “Bat Out of Hell” — Das Musical mit den Welthits von Meat Loaf is every bit as good as the now closed London production, and you should not think twice about seeing it. Tickets are available from the official website.

Seen live
Jim Steinman’s “Bat Out of Hell” — Das Musical mit den Welthits von Meat Loaf at Stage Metronom Theater, Oberhausen, Germany on December 29, 2018 (evening show)
Strat: Robin Reitsma / Raven: April van Amelsvoort / Falco: Alex Melcher / Sloane: Willemijn Verkaik / Tink: Tom van der Ven / Zahara: Bathoni Puplampu / Jagwire: Benet Monteiro / Ledoux: Antonio Calanna / Blake: Gonzalo Campos Lopez
Maureen Mac Gillavry, Jessica Lapp, Jolijn van de Pol, Ida Linnéa Svanberg, Karen Walker, Bethany Terry, Masengu Kanyinda, Hedi Leonhardt, Charlie Knight, René Becker, Luca Maus, Tarquin White, Sander van Wissen, and Rhys George
Orchester des Metronom Theaters, conducted by Thomas Lorey