“Bat Boy: The Musical” Is the Best Kind of Beastly

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Last night Sarah Camiscoli attended Bat Boy along with a mob of eager Columbia students that filled Lerner Black Box to the rim. Thankfully, several poor souls abandoned their spots on opening night, offering Bwog a spot in the audience to review the sold out show.

bat boy poster“The way of sin is death, sweetheart,” preaches Jill Shackner, as elf-eared and vampire-fanged Bat Boy Ricky Schweitzer springs into her quaint three-bedroom house. With a brilliant production team and the return of the performing talent of last year’s Varsity Show, the “virgin territory”—as coined by director Nina Pedrad—of this student run production was more than a success. Despite what Nina may claim, it seemed apparent that the cast and production team had been around the block as the cast opened the show with a riveting performance of “Hold Me, Bat Boy.” Before reaching the confines of Lerner Black Box, Bat Boy began as the story of a half-boy, half-bat discovered in cave published on the a 1992 cover of Weekly World News. Soon after, there was a book written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, a musical composed, and thus, the sin of the “Bat Boy” was born.

Set in the farm country of the Deep South that just can’t be “rid of Christian charity,” Bat Boy, cleverly points to the triviality of town elections, the oppressiveness of religious authority, and the overwhelming popularity of cowboy boots. Ricky Schweitzer, Bat Boy or, as Meredith Taylor calls him, “Edgar”, brilliantly unveils the misery of a dysfunctional marriage, the triteness of small town south, and the simplicity of “any twit” receiving a Columbia degree as he evolves from a primitive birdlike creature into a stand up religious man who comes to understand the existential significance of a navel. In the same vein, Remy Zaken, as Bat Boy’s secretly incestuous sister Shelley, enthralled students as she, Jill Shackner, and the live orchestra directed by Evan Johnston revealed the need for a bigger box to accommodate their musical talent in “A Three Bedroom House.”

In addition to strong individual performances, scenes such as “A Joyful Noise” in which Brooks Morelock imbued the audience with the Holy Ghost and “Let Me Walk Among You” in which Bat Boy begs to “let me join your carpool,” place the Creative Team for this year’s Varsity Show in a tough position as the choreography, vocals, and acting were beyond impressive. Still though, it would do the show injustice not to mention the scandalous yet brilliant scene of sodomy in “Children, Children” as Yonatan Gebeyehu tickled the audience as he “erased the sin of man” donning an absurdly large feather and surrounded with cross-dressed critters fornicating through creative choreography. Closing with a touching scene of love, rape, incest, and murder, Bat Boy unveils the latent and blatant dysfunction of small-town America.

Of course, Columbia welcomed the social commentary as it would Bob Saget, but more than anything seemed to thoroughly enjoy the entertainment of highly talented and seriously devoted peers. But, I’ll defer to Nina as she defers to Oscar Wilde to say that Bat Boy was in fact, “ too important to be taken seriously.” So perhaps we should applaud the sheer talent, dedication, and the ability to evoke Columbia’s “beast side” for a good laugh at societal dysfunction that can so often elude the Columbia campus.

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  1. wow...  

    What a horribly-written review! I agree with the sentiment (Bat Boy was amazing), but it was so riddled with errors and so generally unreadable that there was rarely a sentence I didn't have to go back and read again.

    • yes  

      I'm not one to generally hate on writing style, but this is honestly terrible. You can tell when someone is trying too hard to sound smart and subsequently drops large vocabulary words unsuccessfully.

  2. I feel like reviews probably shouldn't give away the plot of a show. Bwogfail.

  3. ...  

    I agree... the show was great, but this review isn't. Too bad there wasn't some other reviewer who could do a better job, because this writing doesn't do justice to how good the show was.

  4. ??  

    VShow and Bat Boy are two completely different productions, the only shared features being that they are both musicals and both have Columbia students. It's wonderful that Bat Boy is great, but I don't see how that "puts the Varsity Show in a tough position."

    Good show, awfully written review. You've already been accepted, no need to desperately try to prove that you're intelligent.

  5. While I agree  

    That this review was poorly written, I do not think she was trying to prove anything. I think she probably has never written a theatre review. So constructively, too many quotes, but thank you for putting in the effort and enjoying the show.

    And, much more importantly, congratulations to all involved in Bat Boy for putting on a fantastic production and raising the bar for Columbia theatre. Great season altogether!

  6. CMTS Fan

    Bat Boy was amazing. Really, really excellent. I agree that "Three Bedroom House" was a great number showcasing some great voices. I'm pretty sure the line is "the wages of sin is death" though? The Vshow comparison was... unnecessary. Whatever.

    Also, I love how when the show is good, we have to hate on the review (myself included). Just so long as there's hate for something in the bwog comments, right? Anyway, like the above reviewer said, much more importantly, congrats to everyone who helped make Bat Boy a really enjoyable two hours. Really great job, you guys.

  7. fact check  

    It's not the Deep South. It's West Virginia. Also, some of the cast and crew from Bat Boy are working on varsity show, so I don't really see how or why they would be competing against themselves? Regardless, Bat Boy was great!

  8. Keythe Farley

    Hi. Keythe Farley here. Thanks for the sweet review! May I implore you to remove the spoilers from your review? The fun of any play, and Bat Boy in particular, is giving the audience the opportunity to enjoy the piece as it unfolds The central mystery of our play is the secret of Edgar's unholy origins. If this essential secret is divulged ahead of time, the audience is robbed of the "Aha!" moment built into the climax of the play. Thanks for your understanding, and congratulations to all involved with the varsity production at Columbia.

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