Monsters in the mirror

Bat Boy: The Musical

If you liked him on the supermarket tabloid covers, you’ll love him on the local stage. Bat Boy (Donald Pettit) charms and delights in Bat Boy: The Musical<i>.</i>

If you liked him on the supermarket tabloid covers, you’ll love him on the local stage. Bat Boy (Donald Pettit) charms and delights in Bat Boy: The Musical.

Photo By David Robert

Rated 5.0

The half-human, half-nocturnal-flying-mammal’s first contact with civilization comes from the inside of a gunny sack. After being captured in a cave by a trio of siblings with matching mullets, the “monster” is shoved around Hope Falls, W. Va., in a wheelbarrow.

The hillbillies dunno what to do with the critter.

“It’s huge.”

“It’s bad.”

“It hates Fritos.”

From the first few scenes of Truckee Meadows Community College’s Bat Boy: The Musical, it’s clear that our fanged friend was better off in his cavern. Humans can be cruel, intolerant. Attribute that to lack of education or superfluity of religious superstition, if you want. Of course, it’s actually the media’s fault.

“We could use it to round up cows,” one gal suggests.

“People’d pay good money to see it,” another says. “We could be the next Branson.”

“Put it down?” one townie says of killing the creature. “That’d be a waste of resources.”

Bat Boy (Donald Pettit) ends up hanging upside-down in the home of the town vet, Dr. Parker.

Parker’s wife, Meredith (Malory Engstrom), takes a liking to Bat Boy. She names him Edgar and teaches him to speak, read and sing about Freud and Darwin in a snooty accent—all in one musical number. Think My Fair Lady with a pointy-eared, blood-thirsty Eliza Doolittle. Add occasional feral screeching.

I love this show.

The Bat Boy character is based on the “real-life” saga reported in that mainstay of American journalism, the Weekly World News. Over the years, Bat Boy stories appear sandwiched between reports of Hillary Clinton’s clandestine impregnations by extra-terrestrials and the skeletons of gay lovers found in Titanic life rings.

Frequent WWN readers can remember back to 1992, when the 19-pound creature was captured in a West Virginia cave. Feels like yesterday.

Since Bat Boy’s escape, the bi-species celebrity makes random public appearances. Who can forget the time Bat Boy endorsed Al Gore in the 2000 elections? Or when, shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, Bat Boy joined the U.S. Marines to help rout al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Easy to see why Bat Boy: The Musical is playing to rave audiences in Europe.

TMCC’s production of the award-winning musical comedy probes Bat Boy’s early years. Encountering Bat Boy is a life-altering experience for all, including Dr. Parker’s daughter, Shelly, played by TMCC theater student Giana DeBeiso, 18.

“The coolest thing about being Shelly,” says DeBeiso, “is that I change from being a skanky bitch. … As I get closer to Bat Boy, I get sweeter.”

Echolocation will do that to a girl.

DeBeiso’s favorite scene: an interspecies orgy over which Pan (arousing performance by John Frederick), the rustic god of the forest, presides.

My favorite scene: a faith-healing, pulpit-pounding revival led by an Elvis clone with Michael Jackson moves (rousing performance by John Frederick). Turns out that Bat Boy, despite praying, reading his Bible and humbly surrendering himself to Jesus and the human community, can’t be healed of his bat-ness.

Just when you think things couldn’t get weirder, there’s a whole new round of tabloid bits.

Woman ravaged by burrowing bats!

Mom burns son alive!!

Mysterious cow mutilations!!!

All that’s missing are Hillary and the Titanic life ring.