Batman Live World Arena Tour [Review]

Warning: This review contains some spoilers. If you plan to go to see Batman Live and do not want to learn anything about the story, read no further!

If you’ve been keeping up with recent posts at Geek-Speak you’ll know we ran a competition for one lucky person to win tickets to Batman Live, the new live stage show that’s currently touring the UK. As well as the winner receiving tickets, I was fortunate to be offered tickets myself. So, last week, a friend and I headed to Glasgow for the opening night at the SECC.

We were greeted with a large crowd of people, including plenty of children, and with a fair smattering of people dressed up as their favourite Batman characters. Fortunately, the majority of people were dressed in “normal” clothes, so we didn’t feel out of place at all.

The arena itself was set up in a horseshoe shape around a long stage. We had initially thought we were going to be sat right at the back and unable to see anything, but the setup meant most, if not all, of the audience got a good view of what was happening. I would venture to say I don’t think there would have been a bad seat in the house.

What immediately struck us was the quality of the scenery. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but it really did make us go “Wow!”. The stage was interspersed with model buildings, but the backdrop was a massive screen on which was an image of Gotham City. Blimps circled over the cityscape, lights came on and off, and a little railway wound its way across the scene (which my friend had to point out to me three times before I finally saw it).

Batman Live tells the story of how Dick Grayson becomes Robin, and pays great tribute to its comic book roots. Scene changes are done by having the background shrink into a comic book cell, the pages are flicked, and a new cell (scene) zoomed into. Fight scenes are accompanied by comic book inspired images, and the whole thing feels like a high quality graphic novel. This is, of course, just a backdrop to the live action itself which, given Dick Grayson’s genesis as a circus performer, appropriately makes use of acrobatics and circus skills.

The lineup of villains is as important as the hero, I think, and we get appearances by Two Face, The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin. We do also get to see Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, although they are so brief as to make me think they were just included to make sure there were as many people’s favourites in the show as possible. The major “baddies”, though, are Harley Quinn and her psychotic crush Joker. Joker’s first appearance is just brilliant, bursting from a jack-in-the-box, and fits his playful yet crazy character down to a tee.

The story was a little slow to get going at first, although it did make sense to show both how Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson lost their parents. Once we get into the action, though, the story really takes off – fights, the Batmobile whizzing through the streets, important revelations about the identity of Batman, and so on. It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, and the show certainly didn’t feel like it lasted the two hours we were in there.

Let me just give you a couple of real highlights before we round off:

  1. Batman facing Joker’s goons in the circus. A huge Joker face emerges from behind the screen, and you suddenly realise that the hair, eyes, and teeth are people. These people stream from the face’s mouth to attack Batman. That face was pretty creepy, but very, very clever.
  2. Showing Dick the new Batmobile, designed by Gordon Murray (who also designed the McLaren F1). The Batmobile looks a little fragile but very futuristic and when Batman demonstrates the rocket launchers… well… just duck.
  3. Scarecrow’s attack on Batman. I do think more could have been made of Scarecrow and his psychotropic gas, but just watching the actor move was something to behold. He must have been on stilts, but seemed to move in such a strange, lurching way that I have no idea how he didn’t fall over.
  4. The grand finale – which involves a bazooka and some quite spectacular effects I didn’t realise were even possible on stage. I won’t go into more detail in case you plan to go and see the show yourself, but it was spectacular in the true sense of the word.

All in all, Batman Live was an amazing show. The mix of comic book style, amazing effects in the live action, and a good story made for a fantastic evening. The audience, children and (some slightly inebriated) adults included, all seemed to enjoy themselves and there was a great atmosphere afterwards. The show is well worth a look if you can get tickets. As my friend remarked to me as we left the arena once the show was over: “I think I might just have become a batman fan.”

Visit www.batmanlive.com for more info.

And the winner is…

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a pair of free tickets to Batman Live. The person who designed the Batmobile for the show was Gordon Murray, legendary sportscar designer who also has the iconic McLaren F1 road car under his belt.

The winning entry, selected at random (using random.org) was from Kylee Bell.

Congratulations Kylee, I hope you enjoy the show. Commiserations to everyone else – but keep an eye out for any future competitions on the site.

Win a pair of tickets to see Batman Live [competition]

This competition is now closed.

Last week we told you about the upcoming UK tour of Batman Live, the live action stage show starring the caped crusader. Now we’re giving you the chance to go along…

See Batman the world’s most popular DC Super Hero as you’ve never seen him before, in an all-new, live-action arena adventure, set to take the world by storm. Join Batman and Robin as they battle their nemesis The Joker and other super-villains such as The Riddler, Catwoman, The Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn, set on destroying Gotham City. Totally authentic, bold and awe-inspiring, BATMAN LIVE will be a completely new way to experience the world of Batman. This is one adventure you do not want to miss!

We are offering you the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the opening night of Batman Live at the venue of your choice (past venues excluded, obviously).

To be in with the chance of winning this fantastic prize, simply answer the following question:
Who designed the Batmobile for the Batman Live show?

Sorry, this competition is now closed.

Entries must be received by 23:59 on Sunday 24th July. The winner will be announced on Monday 25th of July. The winner’s details will then be passed on to AKA, the promoters of Batman Live, for the purposes of the winner and AKA booking tickets at the venue of the winner’s choice. Non-winners’ details will be destroyed, and not passed on to any third parties.

AKA’s Terms and Conditions: Tickets valid for the first night in your chosen city. No alternative date. Transportation to and from the venue is not included in the prize. Tickets subject to availability. Winning tickets will be reserved at the Box Office for collection on the day of performance. No cash alternative, prize is non-transferable. Entries are limited. The prize is as stated and is non-transferable. All entries must be received by 23:59 on Sunday 24th July. Each correct entry received will be entered into the draw. Regretfully in the event that the event/concert is cancelled by the artist/promoter, tickets for alternative event/concerts will not be provided to winners. The Producers of Batman Live have the right to cancel this promotion at any time.

Have fun, and good luck!

Coming soon: Batman Live

Improbable villains, shark-repellant spray, lycra hero suits, a plethora of gadgets, and words like “Ker-thwack” appearing on screen whenever the hero punches someone. What are we talking about? Batman, of course!

Things have moved on a little since the Adam West and Burt Ward days, with later Batman offerings taking on a much darker hue, but the Caped Crusader is sill a popular staple of super-hero lore. And now there is a live show coming to the UK!

The show promises to introduce us to The Riddler, Joker, Penguin, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman as we follow the story of Dick Grayson (Robin) and his quest for justice for the death of his parents. Faithfully adapted from the DC comics, stories and characters, this looks like a fantastic show.

One thing I’m particularly excited about is the new Batmobile – designed specially for the show by legendary racing car designer Gordon Murray. Haven’t heard of him? He designed the McLaren F1… at one time the fastest road car in the world and still good enough to give a Bugatti Veyron a fright at the traffic lights.

Batman Live opens in Manchester on the 19th of July, and will be touring the UK. Join us on Monday when we will be launching a competition to win tickets to the Glasgow venue on the 3rd of August.

Check out the Batman Live website for more information.