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Welcome new vistors and thank you for returning dedicated fans. For more information about me please dig into my "About me section" or look at my G+. This was my first blog. I have rebuilt and specialized since this blog's inception. It now serves as a "hub" for the three blogs I write. Below this banner is "Welcome to the Club" which is my comics blog, "The Silver Screen" which is my Cinema blog, and "All the World's a Stage" which is my theatre blog. Read at your leisure!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Batman Live!

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So last month I had probably one of the most unique live performance experiences of my life. I saw the arena show "Batman Live! The World Tour." Now going into an event that promises Batman live and in the flesh I didn't know exactly what to expect. I basically hope it was over-the-top, ridiculous, and something that I can never experience in any other Batman media (film, video games, comics, novels?, Radio serials?)

Suffice to say I was not disappointed at all. This was either the most horrible or the most genius performance I have seen in a really long time.

What I liked

  • The circus aspect of this show was incredible. I am not an actor who is literate in circus (even though I come form a theatre department that has a lot of circus master) but to a simpleton such as myself the trapeze, silks, and stills were great.
  • The media for this show was also fantastic. The entire back wall of the space was a screen and it served as a very inexpensive way to house many a back drops. This alone I thought was pretty clever, but the thing that really surprised me was in scene transitions we zoomed out and were in a comic book spread and pages would flip to the next "panel." The art was all done in a very silver age Batman look and with most characters emerging from the back drop it have the effect of characters literally breaking through the 2-D universe and emerging onstage. 
  • A lot of the performers were fantastic (and some were the opposite of fantastic, but more on that in a minute), but I have to single out one performer. The girl who Played Harley Quinn was amazing. I actually might say she is my definitive Harley Quinn (yes better than Batman the Animated Series or the Arkham video games). She was funny, insane, and unpredictable. Not to mention she had a giant hammer and a bazooka (see next point)

  • THIS ENTIRE NEXT BULLET POINT NEEDS TO BE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! IN THE FINALE HARLEY QUINN SHOT A BAZOOKA AT THE JOKER IN A HOT AIR BALLOON AND IT BURNED DOWN AND CRASHED ON STAGE. Ok enough of that gimmick. This effect was incredible and looked absolutely real. The western theatre tradition from Ajax to Hamlet, Medea to Our Town, or The Birds to Rent was all missing one specific element of the human experience. Thank you Batman Live for finally filling the void. I have now seen a Bazooka fired live onstage. Let's just say I am now working on Click Click BOOM!: The Musical. Not to spoil any major plot points lets just say there is a grenade juggling sequence. 

  • Before the final big fight scene The Joker put on a magic show that was actually quite impressive. No Bazookas sadly. 
  • The Joker has a jet pack. 'Nuff Said? Well I do need to provide Dialogue context. Batman: Joker are you just going to run away? Joker: Why run away when Jetting away is so much more fun!

Normally I would put in this next section what didn't work for me. However, this seems silly since this entire production was designed for 8 year olds. Instead I will include the top 10 most insane/amazing things that occur in this performance.

10. The Scarecrow was on stilts....because.... ITS A CIRCUS....kinda... In the final fight Scarecrow kinda just walked around and waved around his 3-5 foot fingers. 

9. Slow motion fighting. In a fight scene where Joker's henchman are attempting to capture Dick all  punches throw were Matrixed the fuck out. It was so weird. The peak of insanity was when the clowns had surrounded Dick and where very clearly pounding the ground and Dick slipped out of the pile and yet.... the ground pounding continued for approximately 30 more seconds. 

8.  Harley Quinn and Catwoman's tender moment. All of the action stopped just as we were building towards the climax so Harley and Selina could talk relationships. That's right Batman fails The Bechdel Test.

7. Arkham Asylum. This show was very kid friendly. The fighting onstage was clearly fake, Catwoman's costume was the most practical I had ever seen it. For some reason the set for Arkham Asylum came right out of a Saw film. There were floor to ceiling chains of moaning mummified bodies. I cut to the Nostalgic Critic for my comments:

"You Know, for Kids!"

6. Catwoman in Arkham. After Catwoman gets locked up she is rolled out on a small block styled  as a mini Arkham Asylum. She is standing inside the model with only her head and shoulders popping out. Representing her imprisonment.... maybe?

5. Wayne Manor's Table. Remember that scene in  Burton's Batman where they make fun of the dinning room table about how comedically large it is? Well in this show a chair is rolled out that is no smaller that fifteen feet tall with a table that is 20 feet long. The table is also angled so one end is on the ground and the other comes to meet the chair.

4. Batman  and Catwomen fight. So the entire Catwoman and Batman fight scene was done in the air with the actors on wires. Because of the rigging it was impossible for the actors to move their arms or legs. The fight was ridiculous. 

3. In the final battle Batman Robin and Catwoman all get katanas and beat all of Joker's henchman with swords. Also they only choreographed two of the three fighting at the same time. So one of the good guys would just stand in the corner and pose while the other fought the bad guys.

2. Giant Joker head. For the final scene a giant Joker head is rolled onto stage and an endless wave of henchman come out of it. IF that wasn't enough, the heads tongue and teeth are actually hanging people. WTF?

1. Batmobile. I am speechless attempting to describe this Batmobile. It is environmentally sustainable as it has a hydrogen engine and its only exhaust is water. Better it has virtual wheel. Wheels that employ anti-gravity and don't actually need to spin. They still light up and spin anyways but are also square shaped. The best however was the animated car chase. The Batmobile chases down the joker in this virtual car. After awhile streetlight and builds start to fall on the car unexplainably. Finally boulder fall from the sky and the car shoots lasers to blow them up. LASERS.

Well that is Batman live. I have a lot more stuff to write about so I'll give you a little preview of what is to come in the future someday:

  • Open Eye Theatre's Alice in Wonderland adaptation "A-hole"
  • Ten Thousand Things Theatre's "Measure for Measure"
  • Pillsbury House's "The Brothers Size"
  • History Theatre's "Lombardi"

I might write something political too who knows.

Peace and please click an ad or two!


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