As a huge Batman fan you can imagine my excitement when a friend of mine offered me free tickets to Batman Live. Having followed all the hype around Spiderman Live I assumed Batman Live was a small-scale production just for U.K theatres because I hadn’t seen or heard anything about it, but I still experienced a bubbly sick feeling in my stomach while we waited in the queue outside the Liverpool Echo arena. I was not expecting the elaborate sets and costumes or the Broadway budget performers, which are the reality of Batman Live, and left with my mind blown.
The plot follows Dick Grayson’s origin as Robin as he seeks revenge for the death of his parents. Batman did feel a bit like the sidekick sometimes but I didn’t really consider this a flaw. The show was more like the Adam West TV show than the recent Nolan movies in atmosphere and acting. Much more campy than the brooding Batman we have come to accept as true, and to be honest that has to be expected from a Broadway show. It does still manage a few darker more scary moments, usually involving Scarecrow and elaborate set designs or Joker thugs. A lot of the major Gotham City villains make an appearance, including my favourite The Riddler who was played particularly well, Penguin, Two-Face, Joker, Harley Quinn and Scarecrow who is perhaps the most memorable of all due to his extravagantly trippy scenes.
Most of the set designs are amazing, although I did think the Bat Mobile was a bit disappointing. The people I went with were excited about it because the designer also designed the McLaren F1 (and they are fans of that) but we all felt a little underwhelmed when it appeared. The fight sequences are reminiscent of the Arkham Asylum games, and I thought they worked well, I enjoyed the over played movements and choreography which other reviewers have found annoying. There’s a lot of acrobatics and a fair amount of swooping in and out from heights, and some of the action movie fans I knew were unimpressed by the unrealistic nature of on-stage action.
All of the big stuff is impressive but for me the best parts were in the details. The script is funny and the actors channel the comic book characters even in the way they walk or stand. I saw Batman Live in Liverpool, England about a year ago but the cast and production are still the same in the U.S Broadway show currently touring so if you get a chance to check it out then do!