Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Bat Boy: The Musical
Also see Tracy's review of The Secret Garden
He went from an anonymous existence living in a cave to becoming the darling of the supermarket tabloids. It has been rumored that he has even journeyed to Afghanistan to help fight the war on terrorism. Now Bat Boy: The Musical has made his way to Washington, DC. This outrageous tale of a creature that is half bat, half boy is currently running at The Studio Theatre's Second Stage.
Bat Boy tells the story of Edgar, a frustrated bat boy that just wants to fit in. He is eloquent and well educated but there is one thing holding Edgar back - his unquenchable thirst for blood.
Anyone familiar with the over-the-top stories that are featured in the tabloids will appreciate this musical. The creative team behind Bat Boy displays a wonderfully warped sense of humor. Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming penned a book that is slightly off center. Laurence O'Keefe, who wrote the music and lyrics for the show, displays the same odd sensibilities. Together, they have written a show that is sometimes uneven, always entertaining and ultimately unique.
Director Mike Chamberlin has teamed up with set designer John Raley and lighting designer Colin Bills to create the dark but humorous mood of the piece. Audience members begin their experience by being led down a dimly lit alley that runs next to the theater. The alley leads to an old industrial space that contains three sets of wooden bleachers and an arch made of scaffolding. They couldn't have picked a more suitable setting.
The cast is made up of a troupe of eclectic actors. As the beleaguered bat boy, Patrick O'Neill gets quite a workout. He crawls, climbs and grunts his way through most of the first act. O'Neill displays great agility both in his physical movements and his acting skills. As Meredith Parker, Lauri Kraft is the perfect domestic goddess and Tara Giordano is appropriately petulant as her teenage daughter, Shelley. However, the standout in this cast is Buzz Mauro. Mr. Mauro is deliciously unstable as the frustrated Dr. Parker.
Bat Boy is not for everyone. Those looking for traditional musical comedy will need to look elsewhere. However, fans of camp will enjoy this unique piece of work. Bat Boy runs at The Studio Theatre through December 8th.
The Studio Theatre
Bat Boy: Patrick O'Neill