Theater review: Bat Boy The Musical

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Something funny is going on in Hope Falls, West Virginia. Three stoned siblings stumble upon a half-human, half-bat while spelunking and bring it home. Soon, the town's bovine population begins dying off. Prejudice and suspicion lead in the direction of the creature who has been dubbed "Bat Boy."

Something even funnier is going on in the South Campus Gateway's Green Room - Whistling in the Dark Theatre's production of "Bat Boy: The Musical."

Playwrights Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming and lyricist-composer Laurence O'Keefe based the play loosely on what has become a legendary June 1992 article in the outlandish supermarket tabloid Weekly World News.

In the capable hands of Whistling in the Dark, "Bat Boy" speeds through its cleverly predictable plot with ironic self-knowledge and several surprisingly powerful voices.

Chief among them is Liam Cronin, who plays Bat Boy and aptly portrays the creature's evolution from bat squeaks to the BBC-worthy eloquence of the keenest intellect in Hope Falls.

Heather Carvel makes a good case for Meredith Parker, the sympathetic and motherly spouse of the town veterinarian. Christopher Storer puts on a kindly face as the vet, Dr. Parker, who is hiding his less savory side.

And Liz Wheeler, as their daughter Shelley, spans her own good girl/bad girl range with enthusiastic innocence.

Considering the theater company's low-budget, low-tech ethos, it's hardly surprising that "Bat Boy" is ultimately more plucky than polished. But director Joe Bishara, musical director Emily Mills, and the whole cast and crew deserve credit for bringing across the wit of O'Keefe's lyrics while presenting a plot that echoes "Young Frankenstein," "Pygmalion," "Star Wars" and "Dracula."

Bat Boy: The Musical

Through April 3

The Green Room

1556 N. High St., South Campus