KAPOW! Or, as they say in Gotham city, Holy Arena show - Batman Live is on its way and here’s a sneak preview, writes Digital Editor Graham Walker.
These are the spectacular photos every comic book fan has been waiting for - the new look Dynamic Duo and all the top villains who will battle it out this summer at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. It is one of the first venues on the planet to get the show, just days after the world premiere.
And as an official media partner were given a special preview of the new costumed characters, set designs and chats with the A-list team behind the extravaganza, who have worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Michael Jackson.
VIDEO: Press the play button for our video report, with a first look at the new Batman and Robin facing up to all the villains, chats with the creative team and computerized footage showing how the Arena will be transformed into Gotham City.
YOUTUBE: Watch our video on YouTube, where it can also be seen using the iPhone or an iPad - click on the External Link in the column on the right.
Batman is the rock star of this show and he dropped in looking every inch the 21st century Dark Knight, in a battle-ready suit of shining armour, wearing his traditional cowl mask, bat-winged cape and with trusty Robin by his side.
Preparing a night of mayhem for the world’s best-loved crime fighting duo are all the top Arkham Asylum breakout villains, including the Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Harlequin, Catwoman and the leader of the pack - the Joker.
The new look character costumes are based on the comic books drawn by legendary Batman artist Jim Lee.
A hot new Batmobile, by Formula One car designer Gordon Murray, is still under wraps.
The Arena will be turned into a mini Manhattan, complete with scattered skyscrapers and looming apartment blocks, covering most of the floor - with space for Gotham City seats, putting some lucky fans right next to the action.
“The stage thrusts out 100ft into the arena and we’ve filled the air space with helicopters, smoke, noise and bat signals,” said Es Devlin, set and props designer, who has worked for Lady Gaga.
A bat-shaped 130ft wide HD video wall will provide backdrops for Arkham Asylum, Wayne Manor and the Batcave, with special effects to blend comic book images with real actors, combining stunts, illusions and pyrotechnics.
Fans were warned to get there early, at least 15-minutes before show time when the set will come to life with dazzling images and a comic book city soundscape.
Anthony Van Laast, the creative director who choreographed the movie Mamma Mia! and is working on Broadway’s Sister Act, said a strong storyline was as important as the special effects.
“When Batman starts from 30ft up in the air and flies down across the arena, and we’ve done the flying test and I’ve seen what it looks like, it is absolutely amazing.”
Tickets are £20 to £45 subject to a booking fee, with eight shows in Sheffield from August 10 to 14. Buy in person, call 0114 256 5656, or book online at www.motorpointarena.co.uk or www.arenaticketshop.co.uk