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Shaftesbury Theatre: Previewed 18 August, Opened 8 September 2004, Closed 15 January 2005
Musical by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O'Keefe. Directed by Mark Wing-Davey with designs by Madeline Herbert.
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Bat Boy The Musical tells the story of a half boy half bat discovered in the caves of West Virginia. Captured, caged, mockingly branded 'Bat Boy', and under threat of execution by the vet Dr Parker, he finds an ally in the vet's wife, Meredith Parker. Re-christened Edgar, he bblossoms under Meredith's tutelage and becomes the paragon of a modern gentleman - courteous, educated, sensitive and irresistible to the opposite sex - in particular, Meredith's daughter, Shelley.
However trouble is brewing - the cattle of Hope Falls are mysteriously dying and when several local townspeople are murdered in cld blood, the finger of suspicion points only one way - at Edgar. An angry mob gathers forcing him to flee. Will he effect his escape, or will darker secrets be revealed that will shake the townspeople's existence forever?...
Bat Boy The Musical opened to great critical and public acclaim Off-Broadway in 2001, winning both the Outer Critics' Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for 'Best Musical'.
The musical is inspired by the reported capture of a live bat-child in the US Weekly World News in an edition which boosted the circulation. making tabloid history.
The cast features Deven May as 'Bat Boy', reprising his role from the original production.
Please note: The recommended age limit for this show is 12 years and over: There is one scene that contains sexual innuendo. Bat Boy is a child that has been living in a cave, and has some habits (drinking blood!) that younger children may find frightening.
Extracts from the reviews:
"...Good jokes and enjoyable musical pastiche (music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe) continue to crop up from time to time, but there are also a good many moments when the humour feels either misdirected or simply aimless, the tunes derivative rather than parodic. By the interval it is clear that the show has shot its bolt. The second half feels messy and occasionally desperate... Mark Wing-Davey's production has some inventive ideas and good leading performances, especially from Deven May, who created the role of Bat Boy in the original off-Broadway production, and Rebecca Vere, primly sexy as Mrs Parker..." The Independent
"Imagine some mad showbiz buff chucking Dracula, The Elephant Man, Phantom of the Opera and Pygmalion into the theatrical blender, adding bits of Frankenstein and The Lion King as afterthoughts. Then he turns on the juice, and, lo, the result is the weird mix of spoof B-movie and cherry-pie sentimentality its American creators have called Bat Boy... Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming's tale of the feral title-character, discovered in a dank Virginia cave and restored to humankind, is ebullient stuff, sometimes fun and occasionally even funny. But it's also pretty sophomoric and almost wilfully cluttered..." The Times
"This is one of those campy off-Broadway shows that secretly delights in its own awfulness: the theatrical equivalent of a movie like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians... At first, I thought we might be in for a satire on American society's capacity to demonise the outsider. But what we get is a musically undistinguished, lyrically trite rock-show, tricked out with vampirism, incest and gore... This one doesn't seem to know whether it is attacking American small-town conformism or madness..." The Guardian
"...For a few minutes at the beginning of Mark Wing-Davey's hilarious production, when Bat Boy is hooded and bound Abu Ghraib-style and taken to the home of the local vet, it seems as though book writers Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming have a serious point to make about the acceptance of outsiders in closed American hearts. Nothing of the sort: what they and the lyricist Laurence O'Keefe choose to do instead is present Greystoke meets The Waltons via My Fair Lady, B-movie style... This probably won't hand around for long, so book now for quite the most batty experience the West End has offered in many a long day." The London Evening Standard