Check out this fantastic graphic – coming highly recommended next week is Bat Boy, the first production of 2013 from community musical theatre group What We Did Next.
Described as “a love story with bite”, the entire show – from the composer of Legally Blonde: The Musical – was inspired by a recurring spoof story in American tabloid the Weekly World News.
It concerns a supernatural creature, literally half bat, half boy, who is discovered in a cave in the American south and brought to the home of local veterinarian Dr. Parker. The Parker family takes him in and teaches him to behave as a normal human, attempting to integrate him into a narrow-minded town. As he tries to fit in, romantic sparks fly and he decides to run away with the veterinarian’s daughter, Shelley. But happiness is shattered as the town hears the shocking story of Bat Boy’s unholy origin.
What We Did Next say the show deals with themes such as acceptance, xenophobia, hypocrisy, revenge, forgiveness, but most importantly that we all have a darker side that drives our more animalistic urges. Should we fear these basic human instincts or embrace the “beast within” to get by in the world?
First performed on Halloween in 1997, Bat Boy: The Musical has had success both in the United States and in London’s West End. The character of Bat Boy was created by former Weekly World News Editor Dick Kulpa, and debuted as a cover story on June 23, 1992. The original front-page photo of Bat Boy, showing his grotesque screaming face, was the second-best selling issue in the tabloid’s history, and he has since evolved into a US pop culture icon.
It’s the latest show from What We Did Next, who last staged Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens back in November. An ambitious community-based theatre company, they define themselves as ‘professional amateurs’. Members include doctors, nurses, photographers, office workers, actors, musicians and more, who succeed in putting on professional-standard theatre that otherwise may not be produced in Liverpool.
Bat Boy is on at the Unity from Wednesday June 5 to June 8. For tickets and info, see the website.