Entertainment & Arts

Batman Live show on track after crash

Batman Live
Image caption The show's Batmobile spun into part of the Gotham City set during a rehearsal

The story of Batman has been told on stage for the first time at the premiere of an arena show that could tour the world for the next five years.

Batman Live opened in Manchester on Tuesday and appeared to go smoothly after the Batmobile crashed on stage during rehearsals last week.

A spare was brought in from the city centre, where it was on public display.

Producers are keen to avoid comparisons with Broadway's Spider-Man musical, which has been beset by problems.

Unlike Spider-Man, the Batman show is not a musical, and the Batmobile's accident was minor in comparison to the problems that caused the opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark to be postponed six times.

The Batmobile, created by Formula One designer Gordon Murray, crashed into part of the Gotham City set during a rehearsal.

"But we hope that won't ever happen again," Batman Live set designer Es Devlin told BBC News. "Luckily we had two [cars]. It wasn't good. You couldn't have put it on stage.

"It literally came out, swizzled around and crashed into the Bank of Gotham. The Bank of Gotham took a bit of a hit but we patched it up and I don't think anyone would notice.

Image caption The show features a 43-strong cast of actors and circus-trained acrobats

"But the Batmobile, we had to rescue the one that we had sitting in the Printworks in Manchester."

In a rare attempt to stage a theatrical production in an arena, Batman Live tells the story of how Batman and Robin came to team up.

It makes use of acrobatics, aerial stunts and big screen effects and pits the caped crusader against his arch enemies including The Joker, The Riddler and The Penguin.

The show will be staged 87 times in the UK and Ireland between now and October, including 19 performances at the O2 in London. It will then visit Europe before reaching North America next August.

If it is a success, producers hope it will stay on the road until 2016.

It got a positive reaction from the crowd at the first night at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

"It's Cirque Du Batman meets David Copperfield meets a West End show," said Martin Ingham, 43, from Nottingham. "The acrobats are amazing but the screen is the star of the show with the effects they manage to put on there."

Another audience member, Ian Rudolfer-Arnold, from Stockport, said: "I read an article that said what makes this different from Spider-Man is that it's not a musical, it's pure action. And it works. It doesn't need the music. The circus element was really effective. I was well impressed."

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