“Batman Live” opened its Oklahoma City stand Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno.
The show, which continues through Sunday, features stunts, pyrotechnics, illusions and video screen sequences set in a three-dimensional Gotham City landscape.
An all-ages Batman adventure filled with acrobatics and theatricality is the focus the show, which is written by former Tulsan Allan Heinberg. The story of “Batman Live” is based on the comic-book origins of Dick Grayson, who becomes Batman's partner. Fans may have seen that story brought to live-action with 1995's “Batman Forever,” but “Live” tweaks it for arena presentation, and brings in a who's who of Batman's greatest foes.
The show begins with a recounting of Batman's origin, as young Bruce Wayne sees his parents murdered. The show then skips ahead, when an older Bruce Wayne is hosting a benefit performance of Haly's Circus. But when acrobat John Grayson of the Flying Graysons refuses to pay protection money to Tony Zucco, tragedy strikes. It's up to Bruce Wayne to mentor the young Dick Grayson, and teach him that justice and vengeance aren't the same thing.
The use of the video screen and carefully placed props makes the stage take the form of many great Batman locations from the comic books — the Batcave, Wayne Manor, Arkham Asylum and Haly's Circus to name just a few. Each villain gets a brief moment to shine, but the star of the show is the Joker, who's out to get Grayson and Batman. The Riddler and Penguin are particularly appealing, with character bits that hearken back to the 1960s Adam West TV series, but performed in a way that fits in with the entire show's look and feel. The Scarecrow scene in Arkham — reminiscent of the recent “Arkham” games — brings in a bit more edge.