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Bat Out Of Hell The Musical Is Coming Back To London! Here, We Meet The Stars…

We sit down with Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington, stars of the hit musical

School Of Rock… Queen’s We Will Rock You… Green Day’s American Idiot… rock and musicals go together like intervals and ice cream. And the latest production to get us moshing in the stalls was Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell, featuring music from Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell and Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell.

After a stint at London’s Coliseum theatre in the summer, it’s now returning to London permanently, at the massive Dominion Theatre in April 2018. 

Set in a post-apocalyptic New York (renamed Obsidian) it follows the story of Strat (played by Andrew Polec) who falls in love with Raven (played by Christina Bennington) the daughter of Falco, the city’s Trump-like ruler. And safe to say he’s not a fan of Strat…

We caught up with the show’s star-crossed lovers to talk rock, near death experiences and, er, asking posters for help with the show…

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Hey guys! So, do you find the songs from Bat Out Of Hell haunt your lives? Like, when you go home are you singing them in the shower?

Christina: “They’re obviously such incredible songs, and they’re each their own mini scenes and plays in their own right – you do find yourself singing 10 minutes of Paradise By The Dashboard Light!”

Andrew: “Yeah I was listening to Paradise… this morning while I was taking a shower, and I like to lip sync to [singer/actress who appeared on the track] Ellen Foley… I can’t believe I just said that (laughs).” 

And you obviously got to meet Meat Loaf… How was that?

ANDREW: “Seeing him perform is such a wild experience. It feels like if you had met him in the ’70s, he probably would have bitten your hand or something – he just seems so passionately insane! When we actually met him he was such a sweet, genuine, generous man. You just wanna give him a hug and say, ‘Thank you so much for taking us under your wing and teaching us the ways of these songs!’”

Christina: “Yeah, he’s so supportive – he said to us, ‘These songs are yours now. Don’t worry about what I was singing about back then, it’s all about your interpretation now,’ which is amazing!”

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Have you ever had any hairy moments while performing the show? 

Christina: “We have a real pool onstage and the water gets everywhere. On our very first preview night, we were sprinting down centre stage during I’d Do Anything For Love…”

Andrew: “My footing seemed to lose itself and my feet flew over my head, and I dragged Christina down with me. We started sliding quickly to the drop in the pit, which is about a 15-feet…”

Christina: “There was nothing to break our fall at the bottom, so I grabbed a rock behind me…”

Andrew: “She grabbed onto my hand, and my feet were dangling off the edge, and the whole audience took a giant communal breath like, ‘Oh my gosh are they gonna fall? And is this the last we’ll see of them?!’”

Christina: “(Laughs)! What’s more rock and roll than that happening on the very first night?!”

And do you have any weird rituals before you go onstage? 

Andrew: “I have posters that I made of rockstars in my dressing room – there’s Jim Morrison, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Kurt Cobain and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Just all of these rock and roll figures that I ask to help us on our journey every night with the show. When you’re invoking all these stars who have such energy and passion, you’re simultaneously able to pay homage to them and also ask for their assistance.”

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So, you literally go to the posters and say: “Guys, help me tonight…” Does it work?

Andrew: “(Laughs)! I know that sounds ridiculous, but yes, that’s literally what I do. What’s great about it is you’re not like, ‘Help me through the show’, you’re sharing it with everyone else and realising it’s the whole team that brings the show together.”

Christina: “My ritual before the show is I listen to what I feel would be Raven’s favourite bands really loud. I listen to Royal Blood! People will come in and out of the dressing room a lot, so I just shut the door and turn up the music for 10 minutes.”

Finally, if you each had to pick a rock album and turn it into a musical, which would you choose?

Andrew: “There’s a band from Ontario Canada called Boys Night Out and they came out with this really, really strange album called Trainwreck, which is basically about this psychotic serial killer who kills his girlfriend in his sleep, but all the songs are connected. I don’t know if there would be a huge crowd to see it, but it would awesome to perform it.”

Christina: “In the same vain of how I listened to Meat Loaf growing up, I’d probably pick one of those old school albums I listen to in the car with my parents. Being Irish, I’d love to do a U2 musical – one of the classics like The Joshua Tree or something. That’d be pretty fun.”

For tickets, visit Batoutofhellmusical.com

Words: @nyferjay

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