The beat is OURS forever


** Disclaimer: If you're unfamiliar with the phrase 'sex and drums and sausage rolls' the apologies, but this post is not for you... you probably won't understand many of the following references! **

Hi.

In honour of making it through life (just) with the huge Bat Out of Hell shaped hole looming within us, I thought I would finally brave it, and upload this post. For a couple of reasons, I feel somewhat vulnerable uploading this, despite the fact that I know that the Bat community is SO lovely. I do keep looking back at a series of tweets from Danielle, which continue to remind me that being a fan of the show is not a competition, and we should always be building each other up. Regardless of how many times I've seen the show, my age, my gender, who of the cast I've met, or any other determining factor, I am a fan, as are you, and I think it's important to see each other as equals.

I say this because it often seems to me as if I fell in love with the incredible show just a little too late. With my loss of my Bat virginity in October, it has only allowed me to see it twice. Because of prices, travel, my age and various other reasons, I have been and am somewhat limited to what I can see, though I am very grateful for all the trips I can go on. We originally got tickets for my Dad as a gift, because nobody expected the teenage girl of the family to come out loving it so much- there are a significant lack of Bat/Meatloaf fans that are my age! After a ridiculous amount of pestering, I'd got to the point where I gave up, before my incredible mum surprised me with tickets for the last Saturday in December. With it being exactly a week before the show was closing, I knew that I had to embrace every second, since it would be my last time seeing the absolute masterpiece.

For the majority of my life, I have felt a little lost. I haven't really ever felt as if I fit in with the general crowd, which in many ways has been tough, yet somewhat liberating nowadays. Bat has helped so much with discovering this fact, with each character attempting to work out where they belong in their own way. Over the last 8 months or so, a number of life events have occurred in which have seemingly left me wandering into new foreign lands. Starting college has been a huge change, subsequently leaving me getting lost in myself (and often physically in the place too...). It was so difficult to leave behind everything I had built over the last 5 years, though as Sloane says, 'If you don’t go over the top, how are you going to see what’s on the other side?'. That phrase has been so important to me as a reminder that we may be terrified of what's to come but it is essential in life to move on in order to experience the new things. We won't know what's out there if we stick in the same place- taking that leap has to happen in order to keep growing as people.

Talking to Raven about growing up and flying her nest is something particularly relatable to audience members of my age, for the fact that some might say 'you're at a difficult stage'. Especially with the big changes recently, and somewhat losing the safety net I knew I had before, Raven's character growing up and fighting for independence, while feeling partially conflicted, knowing that her mother is only trying to protect her, hits a nerve a little. Though she portrays how desperately she wants to go, it is evident that somewhere she is hiding a pang of guilt and worry, leaving that grasp. The same goes for most of us too. Part of me eagerly wants to adventure into new worlds and leave all the old stuff behind, meanwhile another says that I should be staying in a familiar environment, settled into the adolescenthood that I have built for myself. Her struggles with mental health have resonated with me in a very particular way that I’ll always hold quite close to my heart. Raven perfectly depicts her internal battles that we all face at this time in our lives, which I found particularly good for it to be shown that it is normal to be scared and confused, but it all works out beautifully in the end.

As a young woman growing up with society the way it is today, I feel that it is particularly important to highlight the fact that there are some pretty damn awesome women in Bat. The powerhouse that is Danielle Steers alongside the incredible Christina Bennington and insanely talented Sharon Sexton make the most sensational combination one could ever imagine. With Sloane and Raven facing particular difficulties, it just shows the strength and independence of women in modern day life (despite the fact that Sloane falls back to loving the dude that nearly killed a bunch of teenagers...but it's Rob so we'll let her off). But let's not forget the men, because they're equally amazing too.

Being both an outsider and the youngest of my friendship group, Tink's character resonated with me in a way I'd never experienced before. His presence has taught me that it's okay to not fit in, and it is far better to carve out our own space, acting as unique individuals, rather than pushing to conform with the group, however much he (and us all, being subconsciously programmed that way) wants to. Despite the fact that it there isn't a great deal of months age between myself and my friends, it is becoming more noticable nowadays, with things like learning to drive that they can do, while I am not yet old enough. I think this is very reflective of the way Tink behaves, with his desperation to be treated like the others, whilst being younger than them. The age I am now is like a bridge- the middle ground between childhood and adulthood- and a hard time to place yourself, being treated differently depending on the situation. Though Strat warns him against hanging with the group, their bond is beautiful, right until his ending, proving that friendships with those that matter are far more important than losing your individuality to become mainstream. Having an openly LGBT+ role on stage I think is also very significant of the time in which we are currently living in, showing no discrimination and the acceptance of all- something that should be advocated in many other areas of life.

All that being said, I know that everyone who has seen the show has been able to take their own ideas away from it. This is just one interpretation in which I have found to sit with, taken from characters created with so much depth in each of them, with each and every audience member being able to find something different. With every viewing, it is inevitable that something will be played a little differently, or new details will emerge that you hadn't seen before, getting an insight into another layer of the parts being portrayed.

On my last trip to see the show, I, of course, had to pick myself up a copy of 'Vision Of You'. As I was doing so, I turned around and saw no other than Rob Fowler himself! We were at a matinee so I honestly didn't expect to meet any of the cast, and I never usually do stage doors because I'm either with family or friends that won't, the mass of people become too much or I feel too overwhelmed by the thought of actually meeting the amazing people that're in these shows. Once I had got a photo and Rob had signed the album, I just had to try to catch Sharon to make the pair, and just about did outside. They're such lovely and joyous humans which does make me giggle, for there's an immense contrast between themselves and the Falcos. It was definitely made obvious that I'm not usually brave enough to do this by the fact that I didn't even have a working pen! *facepalm*

I've come to the conclusion that I can't actually describe the sheer ingeniousness that the show allowed us blessed audience members to see. From blood bags to the water pool, the flying bats and the car in the orchestra pit, it truly is like nothing you've ever seen before, or will again (apart from the fact that we're all desperately praying for a revival...please?!). Each and every member of the phenomenal cast were so passionate, and created such an electric atmosphere with each performance, leaving us all wishing it would never end. The vocals were absolutely flawless all round- everyone in the show is so insanely talented. I've been ridiculously lucky to have seen quite a variety of musical theatre shows so far in my time, and none have left me shaking and with goosebumps the way this one finished. I've also never felt such a connection to a show in a way that felt like I had an instant connection with the characters on stage, and as if I was part of the family.

Though we hate to say it, Bat is currently laying dormant, sleeping in its cave in the dark depths of the Obsidian. Meanwhile, we are all clinging to the little ways we can still incorporate it into our lives. The soundtrack is no longer that of just the show to me, but that of my life- a constant backing music in my head with a song for every moment. It keeps me going and is an especially good use for dealing with my anxiety and panic attacks. My college notebooks are littered with doodles of bats and my bedroom walls are scattered with the posters and my Bat photos. I have an abundance of Bat quotes written in various places, and handmade bats stuck up where possible. If I can manage it, I'll sneak Meatloaf onto my headphones over any of the trashy pop we have to analyse for A Level Media. My walk to college is blessed with Bat Out Of Hell almost every day, which somehow manages to get me there on time (most of the time anyway...)! My Bat necklace is worn for every occasion appropriate and I'll create new Bat art whenever I have the time and ideas. Much to my cat's disgust, when home alone it is a sight to behold when I'm prancing around, up on the kitchen counters, belting out Paradise as loud as humanly possible. Apologies to my neighbours who have to hear this, but then again, how exactly is that a bad thing? (Just don't report me for noise nuisance please!). At other times it is WPOMBHTM followed by Deadringer for all the emotions- yes, I play all parts of all of the songs and have absolutely no shame in that.

Despite the loss of Bat, we haven't lost the cast and I thoroughly look forward to following them on whatever journeys they decide to embark on next- we will all continue to support them every step of the way.

Bat means so much to so many of us, and I feel so honoured and privileged to have been able to see such a wondrous spectacle, witness an insanely talented cast do what they do best, and become part of a great community of people.

So from this blue-eyed, blonde-haired, black-hearted girl, rock on. The beat is OURS forever.

Hannah xx