Interview: Glenn Adamson (Bat Out Of Hell)
Glenn Adamson was performing in Green Day’s American Idiot when the tour of Bat Out Of Hell was announced. He was sat in his digs in Dublin and sent a text to his agent. The text read: “I HAVE to be in it.”
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Glenn says, “I’d tried desperately hard to get an audition for the show when it was in the West End but I just couldn’t get in the room.”
This time, he got in the room and was auditioning for the role of Ledoux.
“In my first audition after I’d left, Michael Reed, the musical supervisor, called me back in and asked me to sight For Crying Out Loud and Bat Out of Hell. I pretended I didn’t know the songs but of course I’d been preparing for this moment for years in my car.” Glenn recalls.
After four rounds, he was still performing with both Strat and Ledoux material. “It wasn’t until the final round when Martha [Kirby - currently starring as Raven] and I were put together that I realised I was in contention for Strat.”
Suddenly, he’d gone from duetting Steinman with his mum at home growing up, to performing in his dream role of Strat.
“I used to sit in my bedroom, late at night, in total darkness with the visualiser setting on Windows Music. Do people remember that? I’d watch the sound waves dance around the screen whilst I’d blast Steinman, Bon Jovi and David Bowie tracks.” Glenn says.
Bat Out Of Hell features the songs of Meat Loaf’s hit rock album written by Jim Steinman. Gothic, operatic, and dramatic; the songs punctuate fist to the gut emotions of a whirlwind love story.
We follow a forever-young Strat navigating post-apocalyptic Manhattan (now known as Obsidian) as he leads ‘The Lost’ and falls tragically in love with the daughter of the city’s ruler.
Frozen in the age of 18, Strat is eccentric and rebellious. With his gang of misfits, he lives vicariously and feels deeply.
It’s like Peter Pan, if Neverland was ravaged by Captain Hook; leader of a biker gang.
Glenn however recalls, “Wow at 18 I was a total nerd.
“I just wanted out of my hometown. I was so eager to go on an adventure and get to the big smoke.
“I grew up always feeling like I didn’t fit in at school with the cool kids. I wasn’t into football or rugby and my school was big on both those things.”
Instead, he could be found doing Battle of the Bands competitions and singing Livin’ On A Prayer in school assemblies.
As a kid, Glenn says he was “enamoured” by the story of Peter Pan and related to his desire to stay young and free of responsibility.
Teenage-hood however, had other ideas.
“School can be brutal. I dyed my hair black and had a poker straight fringe that covered my eyes. Deep down I cared so much what people thought of me.”
Reflecting on his adolescence, Glenn says, “I’m more like Strat now, I’m quite happy in my own skin, and I’m happy not doing what the cool kids do.”
The similarities don’t stop there. Being on tour has influenced Glenn’s day-to-day wardrobe. Having fallen so in love with a silver jacket worn to perform For Crying Out Loud, he’s ordered a dupe.
“Is that cringey?” he asks, before admitting, “The jacket had the last laugh because there is something in the leather tanning product that I’m allergic too. I wore it for a full day at a gig I was doing in Leeds during our time off. The next morning my neck was covered in hives and all swollen. A life lesson to not dress like your character on your down time.”
As a fan of the show himself, Glenn understood the expectations of the tour. He admits feeling pressure living up to that and wanting to put his stamp on Strat.
“The fans adore the show, but they love all of it, unconditionally.” He smiles, “They are always just so positive and supportive.”
“I’ve come to recognise some of them in the audience now, and when you have a full house, but you see a familiar friendly face on the front row that you know loves this show, it’s a real buzz and you feel safe. It’s like you’re just doing it for them.”
Bat Out Of Hell is high in energy and high in emotion.
“This show hits you in the face with energy from beginning to end. And it’s a marathon to perform.” Glenn says, due to the physical pressures of the performance, being part of it means dedicating your life to the show.
“I’ve waited the whole pandemic to play this role so I’ll be damned if I’m not giving my all to it!”
For him it’s all about the catharsis felt as the curtain closes, and the bond between audience and actor having shared the experience together.
“You feel invigorated when you leave the theatre. I’ve heard people say for those two hours they genuinely felt 18 again and I think that’s priceless. Who doesn’t want to feel 18 again?”
Bat Out Of Hell tours the UK in 2022, opening at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham Jan 4th.