Batman Live turns out to be every comic book fan’s dream of a show. From the minute you enter the arena – authenticity is the key, from Jack Galloway’s taut costumes to Patrick Woodroffe’s striking lighting design which includes the iconic Batman searchlight.
A variety of villains are squeezed into the narrative and their outfits – including the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, and Harvey Two-Face, which does leave many of them jostling for your attention like tiny tots in a school play. But, due to Allan Heinberg’s knowing writing, there is more to this show than zap, bang and pow.
Kamran Darabi-Ford’s Robin, for example, is so well drawn and played that you feel an emotional connection to him. This usually annoying sidekick is much more than a camp brat here.
Batman himself, like the movie versions, is stoic, although thankfully Sam Heughan does not copy the dirty phone-call voice that Christian Bale adopts in The Dark Knight. But, this performer does seem breathy and out of puff during the clumsy fight scenes.
Poppy Tierney and Emma Clifford are far more than eye candy as Harley Quinn and Catwoman, yet Mark Frost has the best lines as the devilishly funny Joker.
For the techies, Sam Pattinson’s stunning video backdrop and Professor Gordon Murray’s beautiful Batmobile give you real bang for your buck.
Colourful – with dazzling set pieces – this show is a feast for the eyes. Sure, Anthony Van Lasst’s direction could be tighter but Batman Live exceeds audience expectations with aplomb.