Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Holy Musical B@man!

Just when you think it's safe to check your updates another Bat Freak comes flying at ya! I've known about this one for a few weeks now but I've been trying not to spam you with more than one post a day.

To be honest though, you're probably more aware of this musical if you're a Harry Potter fan (which I shall henceforth be calling Potheads) than a Batman fan. Holy Musical B@man was created by Team Starkid, a musical theatre company best known for their Harry Potter musicals. You just have to take a look at the comments for the B@man vids to see them spammed by Potheads. You do not, however, have to be a Pothead to enjoy B@man (thank goodness) - in fact the more of a bat / DC geek you are, like me, the more you will get out of it.

Holy Musical B@man embraces the fun of the 1960s Batman series, the style and wit of the 1990s animation and pokes a hell of a lot of fun out of the overly-serious Christopher Nolan trilogy (and Nolan fans). If you only like Nolanverse Batman then this musical really isn't for you. Though...if you only like the Nolanverse then probably no musical is for you.

Despite the bright colours and smiley singing HMB is also not for little kids. One of the running jokes is Batman saying, "F*CK YOUUUUUU" in the style of Christian Bale Batman every time he fires Alfred.

The story: Incredibly selfish (this guy really is an ass) billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne / Batman develops an instant bond with fellow orphan Dick Grayson. Grayson becomes Robin and together they fight crime however Gotham is not impressed that their gritty hero is being camped up with such feelings as loyalty and friendship. A new villain in town, Sweet Tooth, sets into motion a plan to get rid of Batman for good and poison Gotham's water supply. He kidnaps Robin and Batman is forced to choose to save Gotham or his new, only friend. What will he do? Who will he choose? Will he ever learn to not be a selfish ass?

I'm not going to lie - it starts a little slow. There is singing and dancing and stuff happens and Batman's frenemy Superman is introduced but it is only until well over halfway through the first act that the villains make an appearance and the actual plot kicks in. After that though all systems are go! Everyone can act, everyone can sing, everyone can dance. The songs are pop and very catchy (one line in To Be a Man is STILL stuck in my head and I haven't listened to it in DAYS). But, despite the slow to kick in plot, what really shines is the script. It is genuinely hilarious. As a big Batman fan I can say right here and now I haven't seen a better parody. It's hard for me to give an example of a good joke, they all are. Fair enough half the time you have to like puns and be able to laugh at jokes that are so bad they're good but...considering Batman's greatest villain relies on bad jokes all Batman fans should be used to that by now! The script is obviously written by a DC fan for DC fans (all of DC's greatest heroes make an appearance). I'm afraid I can't say how funny it is to people who are new to Batman but I think it is probably a good place to start if you are interested in getting into it. The only thing that I wasn't so hot on was the portrayal of Commissioner Gordon. I'm so used to him being noble and ethical (his own set of ethics, not necessarily the right set of ethics) that seeing him as a doddery, helpless old man didn't quite fit.

What I found very refreshing about HMB but may be the biggest disappointment for other Batman fans: the lack of Joker. Never fear though Joker fans, super punster Sweet Tooth and his bicoloured queen of chaos, Candy (not at all anything like Joker and Harley Quinn.......) should fill your Joker void. They are epic in design (what I would give to own a Candy costume or even just her boots or hair). I think they could easily become part of the rogues' gallery...and probably will in some fans' hearts. I've already seen one Candy cosplay.

You can watch the entire show on Team Starkid's website as well as see photos, download music and watch their other productions (including those Potter ones). Just a tip though - if you do like the songs and do want to buy them but not the whole album That's What I Call Starkid Volume 2 (it's £9.99 / $9.99 for the cast recordings but also instrumentals and demos of the same songs which means in some cases the same song three times) then you can buy the songs separately on iTunes for £5.53.


A more family friendly Batman stage show is Batman Live which is like Cirque de Soleil meets Batman.

If you're a more diehard Batman fan then please, also glut yourself on the Batman musical that never was - Jim Steinman's Batman: The Musical (yeah just contemplate that combination).

See you soon for another Bat Freak!

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