Batman Live – A Review

18 Jul

Wholly spectacle, Batman!

Technically, this is a preview review.  I got free tickets from See Film First for the preview yesterday at the Manchester Evening News Arena.  The show starts tomorrow.  £79 for a family ticket but, if I could afford it, I would say it was worth it.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos: we were asked not to use flash photography and I, at least, obeyed.  You can click on them to enlarge for a better view.

The directors came out before the start and asked us to make lots of noise whenever we felt like it, to let them know what works and what doesn’t.  They warned that there might be pauses, because this was a dress rehearsal to iron out any problems.

I have never seen a show like it.  The staging was fabulous: a backdrop screen using cartoons was seamlessly interwoven with live action.  Video played throughout, showing turning comic pages, screaming bats, the Bat Cave.  When Batman jumped into the fabulous Batmobile to ride to the rescue, he drove through a door in the backdrop and the video then showed cartoon of him tearing through the streets of Gotham City.

Things came up from the floor and down from the roof; mostly people, but ribbons and hot air balloons and hanging bodies as well.  There were cannons and magic tricks and pyrotechnics, and it was all the fun of the circus in which a lot of the show was set.

There was a constant soundtrack and it was LOUD, but it added to the excitement.  In the first noise pause, at a dramatic moment, a little boy shouted, ‘Batman!’ like he’d just noticed him.  It is possible, because there were acrobats and trapeze artists and lots of action all over the stage.

I didn’t go alone, Spud came with me:

Mum: Fancy going to see Batman Live?

Spud: Nah.

Mum: Shame.  I’ve got free tickets.

Spud: [Sigh.]  Okay then. [With its implied, If I must; and only because you’re making me.]

He was not impressed to be the only teenager there with his Mum, until he noticed lots of teenagers and twenty-somethings in the queue behind us.  Once he had his own ticket and could move away from me, his street cred was restored.

Then he saw the Batman masks!  He just had to have one, and disgorged pocket money with haste.  Tried it on, found it hot, and immediately regretted the waste of his hard-unearned cash.  After watching the show, he confided that he secretly loved Batman and was so glad he had a mask as a souvenir.  Is it any wonder we parents don’t understand our teen children?

He didn’t wear the mask throughout the show, but plenty of people did.  Mostly children, and one twenty-something young man in front of us, who held his girlfriend’s hand throughout.  Perhaps he was scared, like the four-year old next to us who needed to go to the toilet every fifteen minutes.  His Mum suspected it was a fear-bladder.

There weren’t many problems and only one pause, when Batman suddenly went down during a fight scene.  Holy pulled muscle, Batman!  The lights went up after a while, and we were told there would be a wait of four minutes, but Batman was okay.  Lots of cheers from the audience.

Audiences are fickle: at four minutes and two seconds, the slow hand claps started, changing to applause when the show was resumed.

The only little problems that I’m aware of came right at the end; perhaps Batman was tired: when asked why he devoted his life to fighting crime, Batman replied, ‘Because my life would descend into random craos.’  And when he and the Boy Wonder made their final exit in the Batmobile, his cape got trapped in the door.  Kind of ruined the dignity of the superhero.  Holy way to spoil the effect, Batman.

But these are small niggles; not even niggles: I mention them to make my post interesting, and would have been annoyed without them, because all I can say is:

My Verdict: Holy Bat-tastic, Batman!

The best thing about the afternoon for me, however, was that, despite torrential rain all day long, we went from our house in Stockport to the centre of Manchester without being exposed to the weather for more than twenty seconds; we didn’t even need a coat: house – car – Stockport Station – Piccadilly Station – down to the trams – Victoria Station and the arena entrance is inside the station.  Travelling during a downpour without getting wet – now that’s what I call impressive.



33 Responses to “Batman Live – A Review”

  1. vivienne Blake July 18, 2011 at 12:39 #

    I bet they’re glad they invited you: they couldn’t have had better worldwide publicity if they’d spent millions on it. Spud looks pretty grim in his mask. Are you sure he liked it?


  2. Cindy July 18, 2011 at 12:53 #

    Glad you enjoyed the show, Tilly, the mask may come in hand some day, for a bank robbery or something …


  3. misswhiplash July 18, 2011 at 13:39 #

    If nothing ever went wrong at a rehersal then it would be a waste of tiome doing it and seeing all the bits that did go wrong made it seem even better.
    I am so glad that you both enjoyed it


  4. Big Al July 18, 2011 at 14:32 #

    I can’t find the words to express how much I enjoyed this blog. Wait, here’s a few: Wham! Bam! Splat! Crunch! Bang! Sock!


  5. Paula Tohline Calhoun July 18, 2011 at 15:33 #

    Holy Hero Happenings! Sounds like so much fun – though Hubs could not have stood the noise – loudness hurts his ears – go figure – he still asks me to shout because he says he can’t hear me. He also made ME go to the audiologist for a hearing test. I passed. Bet he wouldn’t! But I digress.

    What went through my mind as I read your review was the fate of Spider Man-the Musical. I wonder if the producers of that ill-fated and (deadly) show have seen this Batman yet! I love previews. I’ve been to a couple of movie previews at the end of which you have to fill out a comment card (instead of paying for the ticket!). The main one I remember was an absolutely DREADFUL film called Pope Joan (it was a terrific book,BTW, and I have corresponded with the author on many occasions). The thing about it was that the acting of the leads was very good – Liv Ullman was Pope Joan (the story is a true one, but lost in Catholic History – small wonder). I think Olivier was in it too. But the rest of the production was so amateur, there was a lot of laughter in the audience during some of the most dramatic moments! The author, BTW, agreed wholeheartedly, but as she had sold the rights, she had no say in the matter. (Note to future successful authors courted by Hollywood: BE CAREUL WHAT THEY DO WITH YOUR WORK!!) It ended up being released, but it disappeared after about one week. Never to be seen or heard from again, but every once in a while I think I would like to try and find a copy just for the laugh and see if it really is as bad as I remember!

    More digression – sorry! One more comment: I sort of wish that instead of saying “Random craos” the tired Batman had said “Handom raosc!”


    • Tilly Bud July 18, 2011 at 20:25 #

      I never heard of the musical or film, but I do know of Pope Joan from my OU studies. She appears in a Caryl Churchill play, ‘Top Girls’, and throws up. Charming.

      Georgette Heyer felt the same way about the only film made from one of her books, ‘The Reluctant Widow.’ They killed it.

      JK Rowling had more media savvy, fortunately.


  6. slpmartin July 18, 2011 at 16:24 #

    A “Holy Bat-tastic” review…was fun to read.


  7. gigihawaii July 18, 2011 at 17:13 #

    I am so glad you enjoyed the show and didn’t get wet! Doesn’t get any better than that!


  8. Pseu July 18, 2011 at 18:31 #

    What was Robin like?


    • Tilly Bud July 18, 2011 at 20:27 #

      A bit of a Dick, actually.



      • Tinman July 18, 2011 at 20:42 #

        Tilly!!!! Really!

        (Really funny, I mean)


      • Pseu July 18, 2011 at 21:09 #

        nothing new there then !!! 🙂 (Tee hee)


  9. earlybird July 18, 2011 at 20:02 #

    Sounds amazing.


  10. Patti July 18, 2011 at 20:43 #

    Batman was my favorite TV show when I was growing up – though at the time, I thought it was a serious crime drama and I was nervous every time they left us hanging as to what Batman and Robin’s fate would be. When I saw it as a college student, I was amazed to find out how campy it was – and I liked it even better than before. I must say that when I went on the Warner Brothers studio tour, I was thrilled to see the front steps of Gotham City Hall where they were filmed jumping into the Batmobile. The show sounds like fun!


    • Tilly Bud July 18, 2011 at 23:16 #

      I must confess I laughed really hard at you thinking it was serious crime drama. 🙂


      • Patti July 19, 2011 at 01:49 #

        Come on now, it was on at a time when I was extremely excited to be allowed to stay up past 8:00 to watch it.

        I also planned to marry Robin so that we could fight crime together.


        • Tilly Bud July 19, 2011 at 08:11 #

          The Boy Wonder and The Girl Clueless: a match made in heaven 🙂


      • Patti July 19, 2011 at 16:15 #

        I still get a little wistful thinking of how cool I would have looked in the mask and cape. (not as good as Spud though)


  11. barb19 July 18, 2011 at 22:37 #

    The show sounds awesome and you did a holy bat-tastic review! You could get paid for this!
    Glad you enjoyed the show with Spud after he condescended to go with you – typical teenager, we never know what’s on their mind! No doubt the bat mask will come in useful at some time!


    • Tilly Bud July 18, 2011 at 23:17 #

      He’s thinking, ‘Fancy Dress party’ 🙂


  12. colonialist July 18, 2011 at 23:34 #

    It sounds great, and mishaps in the dress rehearsal are generally taken to bode well for the show itself. It seems that it is another of those mind-blowing stage experiences like the UK version of Phantom we saw while on a visit.


    • Tilly Bud July 18, 2011 at 23:35 #

      I think this is a world-wide tour, so who knows…?


  13. Sharp Little Pencil July 19, 2011 at 00:48 #

    I, too, was thinking of the problem-plagued “Spiderman” musical. They have spent more than the US national debt on the damned thing and it will probably never see the light of day. At least one crew member has been killed.

    OK, good news: Your son looks (I know I sound like a “cougar” saying this) HOT in his Batman mask. Tell Spud I said he should change his name to Stud, ha ha ha. One hot potato. OK, I’ll stop with the puns now.

    Thanks for giving us ALL a sneak peek, Linda. This was a delightful review, right up until the last cape-getting-caught moment! Amy


    • Tilly Bud July 19, 2011 at 08:10 #

      I haven’t heard about the musical.

      Thanks for a laugh to start my day 🙂


  14. Perfecting Motherhood July 19, 2011 at 07:18 #

    Wow, that looks like fun!

    Glad to see the Batman production in the UK is going a lot better than the doomed Spiderman broadway show in New York…


  15. eof737 July 19, 2011 at 09:39 #

    Good job… though that caught cape had me laughing! 🙂


    • Tilly Bud July 19, 2011 at 09:40 #

      I didn’t notice it because I was taking pics; Spud told me. I was delighted to find I’d captured it.


  16. sarsm July 19, 2011 at 21:23 #

    Looks fantastic!

    A world wide tour – I hope it comes here. My kids would love it!!


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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