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Reviewers Pan 'Spider-Man'
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Theater critics filed their reviews on Julie Taymor's troubled musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" on Monday night and Tuesday morning. The general sentiment about the much-delayed $65 million play with a score by U2's Bono and the Edge is that the musical isn't worth the hype.
In his review for The New York Times, Chief Theater Critic Ben Brantley wrote: "Often you feel as if you were watching the installation of Christmas windows at a fancy department store. At other times the impression is of being on a soundstage where a music video is being filmed in the early 1980s."
"Story-wise, 'Spider-Man' is a shrill, insipid mess, a musical aimed squarely at a Cub Scout demographic," wrote Washington Post Staff Writer Peter Marks. "Looking at the sad results, you're compelled to wonder: Where did all those tens of millions go?"
Theater Critic for The LA Times Charles McNulty wrote: "The endlessly postponed official opening was last moved from Feb. 7 to March 15, but the battle over healthcare reform has a better shot at being resolved before the manifold problems of this frenetic Broadway jumble get fixed."
"Neither Taymor nor her co-writer, Glen Berger, have found a way to improve the book, a protofeminist stew that foolishly decants the myth of the weaver Arachne into a story that’s incoherent to begin with," wrote Jeremy Gerard for Bloomberg.
Daily News Theater Critic Joe Dziemianowicz wrote: "These days, a show must open to be eligible for awards. 'Spidey' would need an official 'exception to the rules' to be invited to the Tonys."
"The first act holds it together because it follows the Marvel mythos, but when Taymor’s id takes over after intermission, the story goes out the window," wrote The New York Post's theater critic Elisabeth Vincentelli. "You won’t soon forget — hard as you may try — a preposterous number featuring Arachne’s spidery minions and their stolen shoes, or the supervillain runway show that introduces another new character — Swiss Miss, the lovechild of Alexander McQueen and a Home Depot."
Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune wrote: "Every time old Spidey gets someone to fight, beyond the eight-legged critter, the villain is immediately defanged by absurdly cartoonish behavior, nixing any of the stakes. His other main foes, The Lizard, Swarm et al., are reduced to a rushed and belated cinematic montage that looks more like a garish version of an outre presentation during Fashion Week."
The reviews came as a surprise and major disappointment to Taymor's team since critics generally don't review Broadway shows until after they've officially opened. "Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid," said Rick Miramontez, a spokesperson for "Spider-Man"'s publicity team. "Just because 'Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark' has cost more money and has taken longer to tech than other productions does not mean it deserves any less respect from the critics."
"Spider-Man," which has been in preview performances since Nov. 28, is scheduled to officially open on March 15. In January, opening night was delayed a fifth time so the production could re-work the musical's ending.