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Thursday 25 August 2011

Batman Live Review: London Gala Opening Night

Living out my ultimate fantasy - a date with the Caped Crusader

My obsession with Batman started when as a girl I became hooked on the 1960s TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic due who fuelled my imagination with their ability to beat up bullies with a host of Batfight words (my favourite being 'OOOFF!') and indigenous ways to save the city simply by wearing brash coloured capes. I went on to fall in love with every movie made, whether they starred the original dream duo, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Christian Bale. There is a deep magnetic force between me and anything to do with The Bat and perhaps this explains why for the four consecutive nights leading up to watching the Live Show, I dreamt about it. But nothing in my brain could conjure up the sheer spectacle that awaited me. It started in the ticket queue. Swarms of excited bats (miniature and giant) shrieked with excitement and anticipation as did their enemies. All the iconic characters were represented in the crowd - several Poison Ivy's, Robins, (even pink Batmen) but my favourite was an entire family...mum, dad, three kids and their uncle dressed from head to toe in Bat Clobber. Yet what soon transpired was that the show is not just for Bat Fans (though if you are one, it's compulsory you attend); the story that unfolds is a complete 'all you need to know' about Batman, making it the perfect introduction.

It was a Dark Night in Gotham
As I sat down, the Arena dissolved all around me and I forgot I was in a room alongside thousands of people. I was drawn in by the distant blare of sirens screeching through the urban metropolis. The menacing night sky of Gotham City so captivating, that it was all eyes on the stage from start to finish, with a mouth gaping wide throughout. The staging is undoubtedly the star of the show. A towering batshapped LED video screen dominates, yet is by no means a giant TV. Through it, pages of a colossal comic book transport you through time and space. It’s almost like watching a 3D animation with the rule books on perspective and reality thrown out of the window, no more so then when you step through the doors of Wayne Manor.
The wonders of Wayne Manor
The biggest ripple of applause came with the unveiling of the Batmobile. By this point, most of the audience had lost their inhibitions. For the second half of the show it had descended into a pantomime with the crowd cheering and applauding (booing only at the villains) – shouts of ‘Go Batman’ ‘Yeah Batman’ ‘BATMANNNNNNNN!’ being hurled from all directions by children and their parents alike.
Colourful crooks
No Bat Story would be complete without villains and each made their own astonishing entrance again to rapturous cheers. Each and every one was impeccably acted, the mysticism of Catwoman, intoxicating beauty of Poison Ivy, quirkyness of Two-Face, humour of The Penguin, eeriness of The Riddler and jovial nature of the lesser known Harley Quinn. The Joker their ring-leader, was so convincing that whoever was inside the costume was clearly born to play the role. Batman and Robin captured their traditional characteristics every inch the way you wanted them to; Robin with his youthful energy and Batman displaying the right dose of comical campness whilst retaining his masculine charm.

Oh what a night!
Batman Live is melodrama at its best. It contains every single ingredient needed to create perfection and achieves it: action, intrigue, special effects, horror, romance, tear-jerking moments, a proper storyline and amazing death-defying stunts all thrown in to concoct a show that children will remember for the rest of their lives and that will make adults feel proud. The cast is made up of 43 actors and acrobats who present elaborate circus style performances and choreography that far surpasses any other West End stage show of recent years. The audience is kept on their toes throughout not knowing who’s coming from where or when at any point, be it from the sky or the floor opening up. The pulsating score captures the darkness and secrecy of the world’s most criminal city while the rainbow coloured costumes of the underworld add an alternative twist to the proceedings.(It helps if you bring binoculars to admire them - luckily I had two pairs!).

Missing cast member?
Watching Batman Live isn’t just a night out at the theatre, it’s a feast for all your senses, and a complete escape from reality with the same after effects as if you’ve just been on a holiday, except you’re buzzing on a high from the happy atmosphere being generated by all the other witnesses. What’s really welcome is that as entertainment goes, ticket prices are extremely reasonably priced from £20-£35….ok so there’s a bit of saving up to do but it’s no more than a couple of cinema trips.
The show is on in London at The 02 until September 4th before travelling around the UK stopping off at Liverpool, Nottingham, Dublin and Belfast then heading to the US next summer.
Time for a glass of 'Penguinn Punch'
If you watch the show in London there's also the option of enjoying some post-show Bat Cocktails!

And just incase my photos aren’t enough to entice you, watch this trailer to experience a bit of the action, though I warn you, it’s just a mere teaser…you need to get a ticket to really understand what I've been talking about!  

Tickets for UK and The Republic of Ireland are on sale now.
For more information go to www.batmanlive.com

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you're are a genius! That yellow bat dress is crazy good. Love your quirky tastes – who'd of thought you'd be a Batman fanatic? Hehehe!
    Great post X