‘Bat Boy: The Musical’ – Bloody Fun at Barnstormers, Inc.
Review by Lisa Panzer
Sprung from the pages of the Weekly World News about a group of teenaged spelunkers who find a pointy eared, eerie eyed child in a West Virginia cave, ‘Bat Boy: The Musical’ delivers the mutant child to Dr. Parker (Michael DeFlorio), a villainous, bibulous veterinarian, whereupon a series of disturbing events ensues, set of course to music. It’s hard to look away as the portents loom over Bat Boy (Will Rotsch), who upon finally discovering love and (yikes) family, learns what it is to live under the dark, cruel, duplicitous clouds of the world above in the town of Hope Falls… and that sometimes, it is people who suck!
The lively opening ensemble number “Hold Me Bat Boy” sets the tone with an energetic array of vocals (Katie VanNewkirk) and simply delightful dance steps (Theresa Millison), and things amp up from there. The multifaceted music rocks, and although at times it attempts to over power the singers, their strong voices prevail. Beautifully sung ballads, such as the lovely duet between Mrs. Parker (Minnie Kalan) and Bat Boy “A Home For You”, the reprise of “A Home For You”, and “Let Me Walk Among You” both performed by Bat Boy provide touching interludes among an dramatic emotional backdrop. Reverend Hightower’s (Randy Marcheski) rousing revival tune “A Joyful Noise” reverberates throughout the theater, while Dr. Parker and Ensemble’s “Dance With Me Darling” casts a shadow of sinister things to come. The bacchanalian number “Children, Children” featuring Pan (Joe Matthews) and Ensemble is wild…
This is not your typical Halloween horror show. It is refreshingly different, well done with an actual story line that maintains interest throughout, and just enough campiness to keep it fun. Director Brian Kavanagh has put together a stalwart cast. Strong portrayals by Anna Smith who rules the stage as Maggie, Hayden Brown as Sheriff Reynolds, Jen D’Amico as Shelley, a survivor, Michael DeFlorio, dark as Dr. Parker, Minnie Kalan kicks as Meredith Parker, Joe Matthews’ robust presence as Pan and Rick, Randy Marcheski is TOPS as Mrs. Taylor and the Rev., and well, mellifluous voiced Will Rotsch with the BBC accent is the defining Bat Boy!
A cleverly designed, multi-tiered set (L.J. DiSabatino) affords variety of movement and scene capabilities, particularly Bat Boy’s inset roll away cage, and the open eves to either side – great use of space. Lights (Brian Kavanagh) and sound (Martin English) play an integral part in this rollicking production, endowing the narrative with tonality and mood. Well considered costuming (Pat Murray) lends an authentic aura to the townspeople of Hope Falls, WV and also befits the more fantastical scenes.
Happy 30th Anniversary, Bat Boy!! To join the celebration:
Bat Boy: The Musical
Story and Book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe
Licensed under agreement with Weekly World News
October 23 - November 4th and 5th, 2022 @ 8pm
Reservations recommended. Tickets can be purchased at https://barnstormerstheater1.ticketleap.com/