Batman! A Spoof Musical – 29 September 2017, DINA, Sheffield

Sometimes the title alone of a show makes you want to see it and that for me is the case with Butter Side Up theatre’s company’s (a name which also makes me want to see everything they do) performance of Batman! A Spoof Musical, which they performed last night and tonight (30 September) at DINA.

Batman: A Spoof Musical! is a one-act parody of Batman, which sees three infamous villains try to take over Gotham using the power of musical theatre! The show is a camp 1960’s Adam West Batman with a few moments of Bale and Batfleck thrown in too. The jukebox musical featuring songs from old school Broadway to modern classics. The audience will join Bruce, Dick and Alfred as they tackle the craze of the great white way taking over their beloved city and their attempts to stop it.

Before the musical the Butter Side Up members performed a showcase of spoofs called Spoof! There It Is! a mix of classic and original comedy sketches, comedic songs and real text messages, all brilliantly clever and laugh out loud funny from an opening argument for gay marriage performing convincingly by all of the male members of the company to a spoof of “Dragon’s Den” that would make me start watching the series again if it was more like it, via a look at the real problem many of us face of having too many series to watch, a series of real life text messages performed with passion and emotion by Becky Cleary (proof you should be careful what you text as it could end up in a comedy show),  a song convincing that I shouldn’t be jealous of smug pregnant women, and lots more.

All of the cast performing the spoofs displayed great comic timing and and acting skills, but in particular I want to praise Heather Gibb who in her solo performance of a song wishing her boyfriend dead sung with a West End worthy voice, comedy and great stage presence. The writers of the sketches should also be praised, as it was hard to spot the original from the classic sketches (including Hugh and Laurie) and for including up to date references including Hugh Heffner’s demise.

What the audience had all really come for though (with many dressing up as superheroes to get £1 off there tickets) was “Batman: A Spoof Musical”, which was daft and hilarious and left you with a grin on your face throughout via a classic 1960s style Batman plot meets the “Buffy” musical episode and my favourite ever (cardboard) bat mobile.

For me the stand out performance in the musical was Robert Place as Alfred, who reminded me of actor Laurence Fox and gave a stand-out performance of Abba’s “Money, Money, Money” and a great guitar solo later on. Alice Hardy Fraser proved that the Joker is equally great as a woman, almost having the audience’s sympathies for her opening number and shared the best soulful voice of the night with Becky Cleary as Cat Woman, who also possessed the purrrrrfect purr. Chris Hicks perfectly captured the voice and mannerisms of the 1960s Penguin whilst Callum Fellows as Robin played the role with posh naive campness. Of course I also have to mention Batman himself, who Scott Gist performed as if Matt Berry was playing the dark knight whilst possessing a deep operatic voice.

Full of fun choreography and fight scenes as well as a script full of enough Batman trivia and sarcasm to delight any fans of the cape crusader (thanks to writer, director and choreographer Michael Hudson), the musical, including a scene that all “Legally Blonde” fans will appreciate, should also receive an award for the best unexpected use of a Queen song, whose lyrics fitted perfectly into the plot.

The company has only been going a year and if this is the great standard they have reached already I can’t wait to see what they do next. In the meantime I highly recommend the company take the show to next year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival as I can see the show being a sell-out storm.

Butter Side Up Theatre company is a new amateur theatre group in Sheffield, specialising in original writing and collaborative works. It was set up as a group for those who wanted to enjoy theatre and performing in a fun and friendly setting. They welcome people of all levels of theatre experience, to get involved with writing, acting, directing, backstage, marketing and multimedia content, in a range of projects. Named after a running joke in Seussical the Musical, Butter Side Up is a fun but committed collection of people who want to create entertaining performances for the city of Sheffield. For further information visit www.buttersideuptheatre.com.

Housed in a building created from the merger of a Sunday school and a spoon factory in the centre of Sheffield, DINA provides a hub for creative and digital practice, hosting music, learning adventures, performances, exhibitions and a social café. For further information visit www.facebook.com/dinavenue.

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