MTG’S BAT BOY IS BLOODY GOOD
The All-in-One Tragedy, Comedy, Romance, and Thriller Is a Crowd PleaserBy Ruby Lam
Bat Boy: The Musical
Musical Theatre Guild
La Sala de Puerto Rico
Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 5-7, 8 p.m.; Feb. 1, 2 p.m.
Story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming
Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe
Directed by Kristin Hughes
Starring David C. Poland ’04, Nori Pritchard ’06, and Mary Linton Peters ’92
Without prior knowledge about the story or the musical, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I walked into La Sala on Friday night. “Bat Boy,” as the musical is titled, is probably going to be a thriller, I thought, perhaps a story of a hero saving the day in Gotham City, maybe something like Batman and Robin.
The story started with an accident of a teenager who was attacked by a bat-human creature which she, along with her two older brothers, discovered in an underground cave. The bat boy (David Poland ’04) was then captured and brought back to the town.
The townspeople were stunned, frustrated, and wanted to kill the bat boy. But Mrs. Parker (Mary Linton Peters ’92), the wife of the veterinarian in town, merciful and compassionate, kept the bat boy and gave him a home. The solo performance by Mrs. Parker, “A Home For You” was absolutely stunning and brought the first highlight in Act I. With a high level of vitality and energy, Mr. Parker (Paul Giragos) presented “Dance With Me, Darling” beautifully and received big cheers from the audience, and marked the second highlight in Act I.
A surprise in Act I was “Mrs. Taylor’s Lullaby,” a short and simple piece, yet beautifully performed by Mrs. Taylor (T.R. Jordan ’07), who is actually a tenor. When the audience soon discovered that Mrs. Taylor was actually a male actor, many were amazed. Interestingly, there were a few other male-female role-swaps in this musical. Lorraine (Pete Chambers G), one of the townsladies who carries a dog in her bag all the time (the dog was a real dog, by the way, and got to prove it on stage!), is also performed by a male actor. Chambers did an excellent job as Lorraine, performing his role in a comical and funny fashion, receiving many laughs from the audience.
In Act II, “Children Children” was hilariously written and comically presented. The performers were dressed like animals in the Garden of Eden, an unexpected sight in a play billed to be about some kind of bat boy! It was a pleasant surprise and earned a lot of cheers from the audience. And just as we thought the story was going to end, there comes an interesting twist -- a special relationship between Mrs. Parker and Bat Boy!
Though the key role -- a bat and a boy, was very challenging, Poland delivered an impressive performance throughout. I was particularly impressed by his voice range, which was clearly demonstrated in his duet with Shelley (Nori Pritchard ’06) in Act II.
“Bat Boy” started off as a thriller, continued as a romance, and ended in a tragedy with an interesting twist, but managed to remain comedic throughout. It is a hidden jewel in the repertoire of musicals I have seen in the past. A highly recommended piece, “Bat Boy: The Musical,” was an impressive production by the Musical Theater Guild.