Batman Live Arena Tour Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
Official Site: http://www.batmanlive.com
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Official Twitter: http://twitter.com/BatmanLiveSpy
I was lucky enough to go and see Batman Live on its world premiere last night and I had no idea going in what it was going to be like. For all I knew, Batman could have been singing show tunes with Robin doing backup vocals. Of course that wasn’t it, but what it was blew me away. It is an insane spectacle of action, comic books and spandex that I couldn’t recommend more highly.
The story for Batman Live starts with the fateful night Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered, but this is purely an introduction, the bigger picture focuses on the transformation of Dick Grayson to Robin. After Dick Grayson’s parents are mindlessly killed by The Joker, Dick seeks revenge, but under the supervision of Bruce Wayne he’s not getting anywhere near him. We see how Dick is taken under Bruce’s wing and how Bruce, as Batman, seeks to track down the Joker for his crimes.
Before the show properly starts Gotham is already set out in front of us and there are helicopter noises along with sirens really setting the scene. I was as giddy as any 10 year old there. The stage set up is truly fantastic; it extends down into the crowd so I felt I was right in the middle of it. The coolest bit has to be the back drop to the stage which is a massive LCD screen in the shape of bat. This backdrop is used to take us to different locations using graphic novel style illustrations and then from there, out pop characters, props and set pieces.
I’ll stop babbling about the set for a moment because I know what you all really want to know, which characters feature in it? And maybe more importantly, which baddies? Well…pretty much everyone gets a look in! As well as the Joker, it seems all the scum of Gotham wants to see the demise of Batman so decide to work together to bring him down. One of my favourite moments of the production happens in Penguin’s bar because it shows all the baddies having a whale of a time- The Riddler, Cat Woman, Penguin and Two Face, who has a fantastic bickering session with himself. Accompanying The Joker is his faithful girlfriend, Harley Quinn, one of the best performances of the night. Loud, brash with a Brooklyn drawl that shoots sucker punches to everyone she faces, she’s a feisty little thing and very entertaining to watch.
The show incorporates a lot of circus work, obviously with The Flying Graysons we see some talented trapeze artists, but there are a whole host stunts that made me feel I was in a real circus, real toe curling “they’re not actually going to do that are they?” stuff.
The stand out moment for me, and I think it will be the same for many people that go to see it, is the moment Bruce Wayne declares to Dick that he is Batman. The rapturous applause and “whoops” the line, “I am Batman” got was electrifying, real goose bumps stuff. Well, that and one HELL of a cool Batmobile. I mean this thing just oozes cool. It’s impressive they managed to incorporate it into a stage show.
From the fairly lighter first half the second act takes a more nightmarish direction on things. There is one scene in particular that I thought would have been far too scary for me as a kid, yeah maybe I was a wimp, but hear me out. As the story accelerates to an explosive climax, we are in the Arkham Asylum where there are chains hanging from the ceilings down to the floor with numerous lifeless bodies in straightjackets hanging from them. Along with the dry ice covering the floor and creepy music, the asylum on the massive screen is seriously twisted, a great setting for the Joker.
This isn’t just a show for kids, sure there is a lot of cheesy dialogue and cool explosions to keep them satisfied, but for the hard-core DC fans out there this is a really good stage adaptation of a well-loved comic hero. Sure, it doesn’t delve too deeply into the series, it is pretty basic in that respect but it is more than a story and I was really impressed.
So the tour starts in the UK and is set to head off to Europe and then end in the US, if it heads near you grab yourself a ticket because you will not be disappointed. Visit the website here to find your nearest venue!