KAPOW! Batman swooped into Sheffield last night in a multi-million pound live show that proved to be a big hit with the audience.
Gotham City greeted us on the Motorpoint Arena stage as we took our seats - and what followed was two hours of spectacular special effects and acrobatics.
A bat-shaped back screen enabled us to be transported from scene to scene, taking us from the city, into a circus big top, to Batman’s mansion Wayne Manor, the Penguin’s nightclub, down into the depths of the Bat Cave, and into Arkham Asylum.
Comic book story boards were also used to great effect to move the action along.
The story starts with the brutal killing of the boy Bruce Wayne’s parents in a street robbery, the act which transformed the adult Wayne into his crime fighting alter ego Batman.
A similar fate awaits the teenage Dick Grayson, whose acrobat parents The Flying Graysons perform a breathtaking high wire act before also being murdered.
Dick is taken in by Wayne and when he eventually discovers that Wayne is Batman, he dons his own outfit and joins him as Robin, creating the legendary double act.
Along the way Batman battles a seemingly never ending line-up of arch enemies including a slinky Catwoman, who makes her entrance from the ceiling on a rope as she steals a diamond-encrusted cat’s head.
The Penguin welcomes us into his Iceberg Lounge, where acrobats perform, and we also meet Two Face, the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and the Riddler.
But it is the Joker who steals the show from the minute he springs out of a jack-in-a-box, his evil grin scaring and delighting the audience in equal measure.
Later a giant Joker head is made up of acrobats who bring his face to life with their movements.
No story about Batman would be complete without his super powered car, the Batmobile, and this sleek futuristic model, by racing car designer Prof Gordon Murray, doesn’t disappoint.
A technical hitch which brought the show to a halt for about ten minutes (where is the caped crusader when you need him?) didn’t spoil what was a great evening’s entertainment.
It’s not a cheap night out, family tickets for four start at £79, but judging by the cheers and applause, Batman fans clearly felt they had enjoyed value for money.
Batman Live is at the Motorpoint Arena until Sunday night. To book tickets and for more information go to www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk.
For other venues on the tour go to www.batmanlive.com.
By Helen Johnston