Last Saturday I went and saw Batman Live at the O2 Arena in London. I’d booked the tickets months and months ago and had almost forgotten about it. When I first heard about the show, I was dubious. Live action Batman? I was imagining some of those kids TV show live action things. You know, the ones with Bananas in Pajamas or Barney. But, I was willing to take a risk, it’s Batman, after all. And I’m so glad I did.
It started off with a mini Gotham City, but it morphed to so many different things and so well. They used trap doors and sky rigs and made it work with an audience surrounding them on three sides. That is no small feat when the act involved circus acrobatics, magic tricks, and stage combat.
The story covers Batman’s origin story and Robin’s. It also brings in all the major villains from the series: Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Joker, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy. That was an awful lot of villainy! The plot was a bit Adam West and a bit comic-book seriousness.
The dialogue was well written and some definitely funny moments. Robin was eager, but not annoying. The pacing was really great and I never felt bored. The circus acrobatics fit in well with the story. It wasn’t quite Cirque de Soleil mind blowing, but it was incredibly skilled.
The Joker was my favourite. He was an interesting mix of Jack Nicholson, Beetlejuice, and Heath Ledger, with the laugh of Mark Hamil.
Perhaps what was most surprising was that it wasn’t a pre-recorded voice performance. I had expected it to be, since it was such an physical show. But, it wasn’t. All the actors spoke and did stunts, and they did it three or four times a day, quite amazing.
I think it’s finished it’s run at the O2 but if it comes to a city near you, go and see it. It’s totally worth it.