With a traditional Broadway show, critics hold their reviews until the show officially opens. They let the production iron out all the kinks during preview performances and then, once the show is ready to officially open, critics can have at it. But nothing has been traditional about Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Several delays, injuries, a ballooning budget and more have made it into the most infamous show to ever open on Broadway. The show has now had about two months worth of previews and though the official opening isn’t scheduled to happen until March 15, the critics have all banded together to run their reviews to coincide with the original opening of February 7. And these reviews are beyond scathing. An example:
The sheer ineptitude of this show, inspired by the Spider-Man comic books, loses its shock value early. After 15 or 20 minutes, the central question you keep asking yourself is likely to change from ‘How can $65 million look so cheap?’ to ‘How long before I’m out of here?’
Ouch. Read more excerpts, and see a video montage, after the jump.
That above quote is from the New York Times review, which is also the place where you can read 11 total reviews. The interesting thing here, besides the negative reviews, is that the critics jumped the gun by surmising that the show had enough public performances even if the official opening hasn’t happened. The producers are not happy about that. “This pile-on by the critics is a huge disappointment,” said show spokesman, Rick Miramontez. “Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid.”
Anyway, the reviews are out there. We aren’t going to highlight them all, you can head over to the Times to read them, but here are the best:
What’s apparent after 170 spirit-snuffing minutes in the Foxwoods Theater — interrupted by the occasional burst of aerial distraction — is that director Julie Taymor, of ‘The Lion King’ fame, left a few essential items off her lavish shopping list: 1. Coherent plot 2. Tolerable music 3. Workable sets. To be sure, Taymor has found a way to send her superhero soaring above the audience. And yet, the creature that most often spreads its wings in the Foxwoods is a turkey.
A snowballing budget, broken bones, a concussion, multiple delays, rewrites — and what do we get? An inconsistent, maddening show that’s equal parts exciting and atrocious.
It’s by turns hyperstimulated, vivid, lurid, overeducated, underbaked, terrifying, confusing, distracted, ridiculously slick, shockingly clumsy, unmistakably monomaniacal and clinically bipolar. But never, ever boring.
Here’s also a video that brings together all of the reviews into a convenient, one minute segment.
I have tickets to see the musical on March 24 so we’ll get our own review after that, after the official opening. I hope it’s better than what these reviews are saying.