Batman Live at the O2 arena review
Posted by geeksyndicate on August 26, 2011
Curiosity was what I was filled with when I strolled through the O2 arena on my way to find my seat for Batman Live. Curiosity as to how anyone could pull of a Live Batman show and what kind of form it would take.
I spent the next 2 hours with a smile on my face and my mouth hanging open like a slightly distracted two year old. Don’t worry there was no dribble.
The first thingto greet you as you walk in the door is the set, and this is a thing of beauty. The thrust stage is dotted with miniature buildings depicting Gotham City and the back drop is a gorgeous depiction of the city complete with moving spotlights and the odd Gotham Police patrol blimp. Sitting there waiting for the show to start is a treat in itself.
Story wise the plot is nothing special – to the seasoned comic fan, but non pedants and kids will be more than happy with it and to be honest I wasn’t bothered, this was the first time I’d seen this story done in such a medium so shoot your inner sceptic in the head and enjoy the ride. The story takes us from the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents and then steps up to the murder of Dick Graysons parents. The writer’s do take some liberties with the established mythos, but then which adaptation hasn’t done that and I actually preferred this version of how Robin’s name was chosen. This is essentially Robin’s origin story blended with a Joker story which takes in all of Batman’s main rogues. The actors playing Harley Quinn, Catwoman and the rest give fantastic performances as does Commissioner Gordon and Alfred.
As the story ostensibly starts in a circus, the writers have taken that into account and run with it. The Flying Graysons are a genuine jaw dropping flying trapeze act. And the tone is set. Acrobatics, magic, pyrotechnics and a dynamic set that is utilised as much vertically as it is horizontally. This is spectacle at its best. In fact some of the set pieces are obviously shoe horned in but really nobody cared and the audience reaction to certain moments was lovely. The unveiling of the beautiful batmobile in particular scored a resounding ‘ooh’
The star of the show though was the technical genius of the ever-changing set and projected backdrop, which served to move the story and the spectacle on as much as the acting and dialogue ever did. It was quite simply intelligent, jaw dropping, gorgeous theatre.
Unfortunately the only weak link I can see in this show was that of Batman himself. I don’t think the actor portraying him had the gravitas to really nail Batman’s character. This was partly due to the script which had Batman getting himself in trouble and being rescued by his allies. Physically, and I believe the cumbersome ‘bat suit’ is to blame; batman’s fighting sequences were never as impressive as everyone else’s.
It is also a shame that the programs were priced at £15. I talked to many people who wanted one but were not prepared to fork out what they saw as an excessive cost.
Despite those two hiccups this show grabs your inner child and rocks his world. Quite simply…go see it.
GS Reporter: Monts