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Batman Live

Posted by: Casimir at 3:53 pm on Sunday, December 16, 2012


By sheer chance, the Batman Live show would be in Dallas on my birthday. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what one is. So I decided to take my son and see what all the hubbub was about.

When this show was announced in England, I was skeptical. To this Bat-fan’s eyes, it looked like it had more to do with Joel Schumacher’s cheesy visions than any version of the Bat I lean towards.  And I suppose some of the visuals do share some similarity with the awful Schumacher films. Thankfully, the connection ends there.


The Rogues plot.

Even before the show started, the Monkeysaurus and I were impressed. Sounds of traffic, cops, and crime fill the arena, slowly getting louder as the start time approaches. Once the show got underway, we review the (tastefully off-stage) death of the Waynes, and then it’s off to the circus for a re-imagining of Robin’s origin.

Much of the show is set in a circus, which was a stroke of genius. The show is hard to describe, but it probably owes more to a traditional circus than anything else. (I often describe it as Cirque de SolBatman.) The circus setting allows for the mass presence of clowns and acrobats without the need for hefty explanation.


That screen was wider the the basketball court that usually occupies this space.

All the major Rogues are present, though most are underused. (Scarecrow and Ivy seem to be shoehorned in just so someone can say they were included.) We see Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Ivy, Scarecrow, and Catwoman, but as far as Rogues go, it was mostly the Joker and Harley show. On the other side we see Bats, Robin, and Gordon. (Montoya is mentioned.) I was pleasantly surprised that all the actors were mic’d, and spoke their own lines. I half expected the show to be lip-synced.

Harley and Joker really stole the show. Joker managed to be scary-funny, with a few good one-liners. Despite the change in costume, Harley was true to her character, and the actress managed the distinctive voice and cadence well.


The many spotlight operators had to be lifted to their perches before the show, and couldn’t come down until after. I hope they took snacks.

The costumes were reasonably close to their 2-D counterparts, with some liberties for creativity taken. Harley’s was the costume that saw the most change. By the end, I really grew to like the designs, and now I want them all in toy form.

The most impressive part of the show, though, was the huge video screen the formed the “back wall.” Masked off in the shape of a bat, the screen was in constant use, displaying Jim Lee art or CGI graphics. However, instead of simple eye candy, the animated images became a tool to help tell the story. The characters would interact with the on-screen images. Sometimes the screen image would “pull back” to reveal a giant comic back, skimming pages as the cast and crew change scenes. The screen was much more than a gimmick. I was dutifully impressed. (And it’s near impossible for anything that smacks of theater to impress me.)


As the story was crafted was Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett of Batman: The Animated Series fame, the simple story paid homage to many classic moments of the Batman mythos, all while staying true to the characters. (No New52 here, thankfully.)

I went in expecting this to be schlock aimed at little kids. What I got was two hours of fun entertainment I could share with my son. Thanks, Batman Live!


Batman Live has the Monkeysaurus seal of approval!


Lego-fied citizens of Gotham patrol the lobby.


About the Author: Casimir
Not satisfied with the limited options available at retail, award-winning customizer Cason Pilliod has been crafting his own toys since he was a child. His passion for toys merges with his background as a theatrical prop designer, allowing him to find unique customizing solutions, which he shares with the ever-growing customizing community via Inanimate Objects. Cason is also an armchair pop-culture historian, Swing dancer, DJ, daddy, and was once a Muppet wrangler, so he's got a unique spin on life. He also worked for Microsoft once, but let's just keep that a secret.




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