Glenn and Martha – The Interview

Glenn and Martha – The Interview

A while ago, I interviewed Glenn Adamson and Martha Kirby, Strat and Raven from Bat Out Of Hell The Musical. It has never been published before, but here it is in all it’s glory!

Before though, I would like to thank Glenn and Martha for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer my questions. Without further ado, let’s step Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire!

What does it feel like to be asked to be in a behemoth of a musical such as Bat Out of Hell?

Glenn – I was a massive fan of the show already having seen it 3 times in London. Every time I left the theatre I’d put it out into the universe that I really wanted to be in it. Never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get to play Strat though – so that was a massive shock. The show is rightly so, adored by its fans but I was well aware how protective over the show the fans are so if I’m honest I was (and still am) very daunted by the challenge ahead to look after the fans’ beloved show.

Martha– Terrifyingly cool? My imposter syndrome is through the roof, but much like Glenn, I put something into the universe and it came back. 

I honestly can’t wait to hear the overture play on our first night. I think I might pass out, causing a show stop. Apologies in advance.

Are there any similarities between Raven and Sandy (for Martha) and Strat and Theo (for Glenn))? What challenges will playing the leads in a massive show such as Bat bring?

Glenn: American Idiot is quite a similar show in the sense that it’s a Rock Beast. The musical is equally gutsy and from the moment the show starts in American Idiot you’re on a journey of loud rock music and hit by the energy of the cast on stage. Both physically demanding shows. However, I played Theo in American Idiot and Theo is a jobless layabout, with little energy to do anything in life but drag everyone down to his level. Strat and Theo definitely couldn’t be more different. Strat is a leader and a go getter, so much energy he could burst. Theo had none of that. The other big similarities between American Idiot and Bat are the cast ha! – lucky enough to have two of the American Idiot cast joining me in Bat (Sam Pope & Rory Maguire)

Martha– Musically, the two shows are very different. Character wise, both Sandy and Raven are two intelligent women trying to navigate their way through a new environment. I’m so excited to develop Raven further. 

Bat is physically and vocally demanding, but luckily the entire team is killer and will have each other’s backs. Kellie Gnauck is badass, so watch out.

How will you both approach the part?

Glenn: I think we will both approach Strat and Raven as a unit. The two characters are bound together. They are connected throughout the show vocally, mentally, physically, every move Raven makes effects Strat and vice versa. Since first meeting they both exist as one joined by their need to be together. So it’s very much a joint effort? So most importantly, we’ll hold each other’s hands and trust each other. Martha is the loveliest, funniest, most generous actress, so I’m in excellent hands and hopefully she feels the same. I think the roles are also huge physical and vocal challenges so have to approach it much like an athlete – train and look after ourselves so we can deliver night after night without burning out, as ‘Crying Out Loud’ alone is one heck of a workout.

Martha– Glenn has nailed this answer! We are a team so will work as one.

What attracted you to the roles of Strat and Raven?

Glenn: As a child I was always obsessed with Peter Pan and the idea of being a teenager forever. I thought that would be amazing! I also love a challenge and Strat seemed like the ultimate, really stretching my vocal and physical capabilities and I guess I’m just hoping I live up to the challenge.

Martha: The Dr Martens firstly! Second, I get the opportunity to be completely raw, adventurous and badass women on stage. It truly is a liberating role to play.

Did you always want to be actors? If so, what attracted you to musical theatre? If not, would you be working elsewhere in the creative industry, or even in another job?

Glenn: I was a really shy kid, very overweight and school for me was quite a cruel environment. I didn’t really fit in anywhere. My parents tried to bring me out of my shell by sending me to every extra circular activity under the sun – Kick Boxing, Karate, Scouts, Swimming, Football – you name it, I was forced to do it. The last chance saloon was really by local Youth Theatre and it just clicked there for me. I found my tribe and was praised for what I could do? And who doesn’t love a compliment…so from that I was hooked. In my later teens I fronted a band and compete in Battle of the Bands’ competitions so quickly the two things synced up – and I guess that became the foundation for a career in Rock Musicals. Not going to find me in Les Mis anytime soon.

Martha: Similarly to Glenn I found the creative industry to be my outlet. I developed new life experiences and social skills from being involved in youth groups as a kid. I think that is what I love most about theatre- The sense of community and the continual opportunity to learn about yourself and others. 

I have always said that if I wasn’t performing, I’d like to become a midwife- then I think about how much I hate needles and blood. So, potentially not the best suited career choice for me. 

I’ll stick to the fake blood from Strat’s exploded heart thanks!

What is it like working with the rest of the cast and crew? Do you work well together?

Glenn: The Cast are all phenomenally talented. Triple Threats putting me to shame. I was blown away constantly by them in rehearsals and feel so lucky to be sharing a stage with them. And all the crew were so lovely and supportive, especially as the Pandemic loomed over us throughout rehearsals. I think if anything we’ll be a much closer unit when we eventually get back to the show as we’ll all been through the struggles of the pandemic as a team. Also, the producers have been amazing with us – we’re very lucky. Some shows have been left clueless but we’re constantly included in the conversations which helps to suppress the actor anxiety at the moment.

Are you Meat Loaf fans?

Glenn: My Dad was a Meat Loaf fan and would watch documentaries on the history of Meat and Steinman so the songs were engrained in me from a young age. I think Meat Loaf always inspired me as his origin story is like mine. When he first auditioned for Steinman, he was a 300 pound, outsider struggling to find his place in the theatre scene but Steinman took a chance on him and everything changed for him; weight, happiness, success and his differences became celebrated! So Meat Loaf has been an inspiration for me. Though I’ve spent much more time over the last few years listening to the cast album. 

Martha: Marvin’s work was introduced in my teenage years. My music tasted ranged from White Stripes to Girls Aloud. So diverse. 

People work in different ways to keep songs or script. Song wise, I like to get a recording of just the piano backing or backing with the melody line on top, so that I can take those recordings away and listen to it on repeat. By having the basic melody line only, it allows you to have creative licence on how certain phrases or lines could be sung. 

Considering the complexity of the songs in Bat, how challenging is it for you to synchronise the choreography while singing them?

Glenn: Luckily that challenge doesn’t really apply to Strat as the choreography is quite minimal for him. Aside from a spontaneous dance duet between Raven and Strat in ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ which is less dance and more just me and Martha trying to make each other laugh. So with less choreography we can really focus on the music aspect. Though Strat and Raven are really physical when duetting but a lot of that is freestyle and just feeling each other’s energy so we can be sensible about when’s a good time to writhe around the floor. 

Martha: Similarly to Strat, Ravens choreography is minimal. BUT- there is a hell of a lot of throwing yourself around, and high energy numbers which require both physical and vocal stamina. 

Breath control is my best friend. Especially for this asthmatic!

How would you describe fans of the show?

Glenn: Fiercely Loyal and Passionate. It’s amazing to see the show inspires so much love from those that see it. People are very attached to the production they saw either in London or the US and that can feel quite daunting as we try to create a new touring version.

Martha: Insane in the best possible way. The passion they have for this show is mind-blowing. It’s an honour to be welcomed into the pack. I can’t wait to put my own touch into this crazy show.

If people are still sceptical about going to see the show on tour, now is the time to put your arguments forward as to why they should go and see it:

Glenn: The music is worth the ticket price alone. But to any sceptic that feels they’ve lost their inner Rock God – the music is loud enough, the show flashy enough, the script intense enough to get even the most uptight theatre goer to don a leather jacket and band T-shirt and just relive their misspent youth. After the year we’ve had with COVID-19, I can’t think of a show we need more. Let’s get rid of some of the anxiety and tension and just rock out together! 

What is your favourite song from the musical, and why?

Glenn: ‘It’s all coming back to me now.” Why? ‘Because standing on stage, listening to Martha Kirby sing it at me, is the most surreal, out-of-body experience I’ve ever had. It’s like having your own private show with the most talented star. I know I sound like a cringebag but I mean it. Goosebumps. Every. Single. Time.

Martha: Glenn needs to stop flirting with me! He is very kind to have written that.

I hadn’t seen the show prior to working on it but my favourite song is “Dead Ringer.” Watching Johnny Bishop and Jordan Frazier in this number is an absolute masterclass. Also, Glenn and I get to be really annoying and try to make each other laugh by exposing our best Dad dancing moves.