Glenn Adamson talks ‘Bat Out of Hell’: “We’ve got a much higher level of poignancy in the songs to carry for the fans”

Jim Steinman’s ultimate musical fantasy returns to the West End for a strictly limited run – bringing the house down through sirens and fire after touring all around the world. Guillermo Nazara chats with its lead actor, playing the role of Strat, to learn more about the show where it all literally rocks and rolls.

After playing the role both in the UK and International tour, how does it feel to be part of Bat Out Hell’s return to London?

It’s amazing. I saw it the fist time it was in London. So for me, it’s like full circle to come back to it. I saw the very closing show that they did at the Dominion when I was in rehearsals for American Idiot. And I remember thinking that I truly wanted to do the show next. So for me to now be back, bringing it into London feels amazing.

Do you feel as if your role has evolved in some way during all this period playing it?

Yeah, absolutely. It sort of feels like it changes every night based on the audience that we have anyway. But yeah, you certainly find new things and you find new capabilities, also through the way the songs have settled in my voice, as I know them so well. Now, that means you can do more with them and sort of yet mix them up. And also, I’m on like my six Raven (the romantic lead character) at the minute. So I’ve tried it with so many different people. And every Raven brings like a new energy to it. So you find something different with each of them, anyway, and it changes. So it can be so different night after night, based on who was onstage.

The show is incredibly physical and intense. As a performer, what’s been the process of preparing for this particular role?

I started this just before COVID in 2020, for the US tour, and then we got shut down, obviously, like all theaters did. And for that, it was like, strap bootcamp, basically. I put myself through: I ran every day, I really worked out and sang the songs into my voice every single day for basically 16 months. I felt like actually that was sort of a blessing in disguise for me because it meant I could get myself ready for what it was because it’s so physically demanding: you’re jumping off the bike, jumping on all these rocks. It’s like a playground on the stage. So you really have to be physically able to do it as well.

Do you find any other challenges in this production?

The challenge is sort of singing it six days a week, especially with such a high pitch. Anyway, like this, the songs are huge tasks, and they’re really long songs, some of them are like eight and a half minutes long. It’s also the demands of touring – it’s a lot different now that we’re in the UK and I can sort of set at home. But when we were touring internationally, and you’re living out of hotels, and you don’t have your home comforts, it can be quite difficult.

After touring around the world with this production, do you find that audiences react in different ways depending on the place you perform?

Yeah, it’s amazing how much difference you see in the UK just going city to city, to be honest: the more north you go, the wilder the audience is getting. In Scotland, our shows were crazy. We had stopped one show three times because there was so much: either calling out or people fighting with each other and singing along. There’s just a different energy in those places to what there perhaps is if you go somewhere like Oxford, where they’re more reserved. T they really sit and they listen and when you go from one venue to the other: say you went from Aberdeen, straight all the way down to Oxford, you really feel the difference of “oh, they’re not laughing, they’re not cheering along anymore”. You sort of go: “Oh, but they’re actually just listening more”. When you go over the globe, like Australians, they were wild. But then when we were in Germany, completely different – they would listen and this also, because wherever we went, we took it as an English speaking version. So you would also have to account for the fact that it’s not people’s first language, it takes a little bit longer for them to sort of process what’s what’s been said. So yeah, it does feel very different everywhere it goes. But when it’s in London, because the theatre community here can be so varied (it’s a lot of tourists), you see that climate night after night, as well. You go like: “oh, we’ve got loads of northerners in tonight”.

Do these differences influence your performance?

Yeah, absolutely. And especially since Meat passed away as well. It feels a lot more like we’ve got a much higher level of poignancy in the songs to carry for the fans. And for Jim Steinman as well, who wrote them for us. Jim penned this musical a while back in the 60s, and cast Meatloaf in it. So the idea that it’s finally a reality for them, because they never got to put it onstage together. Meatloaf never got to play like the Strat character. So for us, we always, yeah, we sort of carry that level of respect for Jim’s piece, really what he wanted it to be.

The show is dedicated to the memory of both Jim Steinman and Meatloaf. Have you included any homages of your own in your performance?

Yeah, we try. And we try tp stay away from any sort of tribute things that feel like we’re replicating them: we add little nods, especially in Anything for love, like aspects of things Meat would do with that song. The main tribute really is that Meatloaf was always really set about the fact that if you’d asked him to sing the same song twice in a night, it would be completely different, there’ll be completely different things that he did, he would never be so rigid in his performance. So we try and carry that in terms of not sticking to something so much not go in night after night, it must sound like this, it must look like this. It’s it’s free, which you don’t really get in musicals, but it’s a way that we pay tribute.

Because of that, would you say that this show is the one that’s allowed you to explore the most freely?

Yeah, absolutely. Though it is still is quite rigid, because it has to be regarding lighting and movements, for us there’s loads of flexibility to play. We’re given this playground, which is why the set has so many levels and rocks and things all over it, that you can jump on and then we’re told to go on and do what we want.

After so much time in this show, have you had any interesting bloopers you’d like to share?

They’ve been so many! On one of my very first shows, I went to jump off on the rocks, and I was holding on to the back of the set. And I don’t know why but I forgot to let go. So I pulled the whole thing down with me. A lot of words that go wrong too – where the song starts and you go: “oh, wow, what’s the beginning of the lyrics! It happened to me in Eastbourne, where I started just making it up. It took me about three lines for the song to come back to me. I’ve seen that happen quite a lot. We’ve probably all by this point like forgotten something we’re doing because you sometimes you get on, you think you know it and then you’re like: “oh, no, wow”. You can get it in your head and just suddenly forget things. And my trousers were very tight leather trousers, so once they completely split one day. Everything was out.

Why should we come see Bat Out of Hell?

If you want a party, if you want to rock and roll and if you want to feel 18 again, what other show is there for you?

Bat Out of Hell plays at London’s Peacock Theatre from Monday to Saturday until 1 April. Tickets are available on the following link.

By Guillermo Nazara

One response to “Glenn Adamson talks ‘Bat Out of Hell’: “We’ve got a much higher level of poignancy in the songs to carry for the fans””

  1. Like many many others I have seen this amazing show loads on f times!! Please Please come back to Cardiff! After constantly telling family and friends about it they have also started to attend and be part of the shows x Cardiff is waiting for you!!!!!

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