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The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

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Archive: 2012-Current

Bat Boy takes over theater


Written By Paul Sell

Staff Reporter

[email protected]

When I first heard about “Bat Boy: The Musical” my first thoughts were of a baseball play, followed by something to do with everyone’s favorite caped crusader getting a new sidekick.

Both were far from what the newest EWU theater production was about. Ultimately, I’m thrilled with how the theatre department handled and created this play.

“The play was so intense,” said Kristin Duprie, who was in attendance. “It had a mix of different emotions. It was comedic, it was a little awkward at times, but it was also intense.”

In the city of Hope Falls, W.Va., a group of spelunkers find a boy with pointed ears and sharp teeth deep within the cave, dubbing him “Bat Boy” and bringing him back to town after he bites one of them. Once there, he is taken to the town’s local veterinarian, Doctor Parker, who is all for killing the “abomination” until his wife, Meredith, steps in, wishing to tame the wild beast and raise him as if he were their son.

What immediately threw me for a loop is that, from looking at the basic plot summary, this play sounded eerily similar to the 1990 Tim Burton film, “Edward Scissorhands.”

The good news is that the style and presentation of the play is drastically different from Burton’s film, and it never once feels like the two are similar. While watching the first half, if the production felt like anything, it was similar to the mood and childlike wonder of a Disney movie, like “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Lion King.”

This was achieved with comedy being sprinkled throughout all the dramatic scenes and the wide range of musical numbers that enhance the story and characters.

There is a range of humor here, from the physical comedy such as the town’s sheriff always pointing his gun at anything that spooks him, to verbal humor like Bat Boy being taught how to speak through BBC language tapes and having a slight English accent.

“The comedy was very creative,” said Justin Laddusaw, who attended the play. “It really felt like something I hadn’t seen before.”

As for the musical portions of the play, there are plenty of different styles and types of music, including jazz, rap and even a Michael Jackson-esque number, complete with everybody wearing white gloves.

What I will remember the most about “Bat Boy: The Musical” are the performances of the main cast and how each of them was able to deliver several moments of humor and drama. Cody Bray, who plays Bat Boy, always kept me fascinated by what weird noise he would make after hearing it from others. Yet, at the same time, his singing voice had much power and strength behind it.

Then we have Martin Sanks, who plays Doctor Parker. Sanks does a fantastic job at making Parker look absolutely pathetic and weak in his own household, which is hysterical.

Mandy Gray, who plays Meredith, did a wonderful job at being the strong, yet supportive, mother-figure while also having great comedic banter with Sanks. Finally, Lexie Hoffpauir, who plays Shelley, the Parker’s daughter, has some very strange, yet unique, scenes with Bat Boy to break away from the typical teenager girl character.

“The acting all around was good and funny,” said Andrew Logan, who attended the play. “Everyone had really strong voices and great stage-presence.”

The EWU Theatre Department nailed the hammer on the head with this production, as it was able to capture all the best emotions and laughs that one could get out of a play.

For those interested in seeing “Bat Boy: The Musical,” The EWU Theatre Department will have three more screenings of “Bat Boy: The Musical.” The first will be May 16 at 5 p.m. The remaining two will be on May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for EWU students, and $10 for everyone else. Persons with special needs or for reservations please contact the theater department at 509-359-2459.

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