About Time You Saw… Bat Boy: The MusicalBy Gilly Hopper
Following a UK premiere back in 2004, hybrid musical Bat Boy has landed at The Large stage of the Southwark Playhouse. Inspired by an article which originally ran in American tabloid newspaper The Weekly World News (known for fabricating stories which many unsuspecting readers believed to be true), this production tells the tale of a half-boy, half-bat, dubbed “Bat Boy”. Bat Boy swiftly became an overnight sensation, prompting Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde) to compose the loveably quirky Bat Boy: The Musical.
Set in West Virginia, the strange bat-child (played by Rob Compton) is discovered in a dank cave in rural Hope Falls. Under direction from Luke Fredericks, TONY Award-nominated Lauren Ward (Matilda) plays mother Meredith Parker, taking the creature child under her wing and leading the cast with her vocal agility. The bat boy himself, renamed Edgar by his adoptive family, begins to fit in with American life, forging a sickeningly sweet bond with cool teen Shelley Parker (Georgina Hagen) which is a joy to watch.
Photo credit – Garry Lake
Perhaps seeking creative inspiration from the St. James Theatre’s recent production of Urinetown, abseiling Action Men swing in for comical appearances throughout the show. The production explores idea that there’s a hidden beast inside us all, with Edgar’s evolution proving well-paced and punchy. Bat Boy’s charming score blends humour and sarcasm with peppy songs addressing themes of revenge, racism and troubled domestic life. Throw in some dead cows and a splattering of caricature rednecks in a god-fearing community and, well, we’ve got ourselves a musical folks.
Until Saturday 31 January, southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-large/bat-boy-the-musical