Arts Review – Cecilians Sink their teeth into ‘Bat Boy’

Dir. Alex Lyne, Mitchell Theatre, 24th-27th February 

Bat Boy – the musical tale of the part boy part bat who comes to a all American Christian town – is better than it sounds. Trust me. I was skeptical coming to it but the enthusiasm, heart and sheer joy that the Cecilians put into their production of Bat Boy won me over instantly.

The cast is stellar, with each actor playing their parts with relish. Stand out mentions include Marnie Yule playing the mother Meredith who manages to bring both warmth and humour to the role. And of course Bat Boy himself, portrayed by Josh Tinline Bartholomew, injects a real physicality into his performance, managing to convincingly make the change from feral creature to civilized boy.  

It’s not just the actors who make the show, but also all the hard work put in behind the scenes. The band is incredible, and the lighting is spot on, every part coming together to create a spectacular night. The hard work of the whole company pays off and is reflected in the show, as it is a joy to behold.

The show itself is weird and wonderful in the best way, with moments that will surprise you (two words: animal orgy). It manages to counterbalance the intense, darker moments with a witty script and many laugh-out-loud moments. The music is beyond catchy and will get stuck in your head long after the final curtain, with a mix of gospel, country and even embarrassingly white rap. It’s a shame that Bat Boy isn’t as well known, but that just means that this is the perfect opportunity to see a rare and really good musical that you might not get to see anywhere else. The Cecilians have pulled it out of the bag, creating a spectacular night out that is not one to be missed. It could have been a difficult musical to pull off, but the Cecilians managed to suck-ceed (geddit?).

[Jo Reid]

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