Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark

Plot in a sentence:   The Peter Parker story we all know so well, brought to life with a $65m budget, dazzling special effects, music by Bono, and a new villain (Arachne).

Trivia:   Spiderman is the most expensive broadway musical ever, and it's aerial stunts make it possibly the most ambitious too. It's becoming renowned for mishaps and injuries. When we saw it, they had to stop part way through a scene because a lift wasn't working. Apparently this happens quite often.

Best thing about it:   Julie Taymor (of The Lion King and Across the Universe) is the most visionary director I can name. Her stage mechanics in Spiderman are genius. They completely immerse you in the show, without handing it to you on a platter. Also the singers were great (Jennifer Damiano as MJ particularly).

What they could change:   This is the longest previewing show in broadway history, which means they're still making edits... and they still need some big ones. The narrating foursome are unneeded, most of the script is overstated, and Bono's music is, well, crap.

We left thinking:     "Any play from a comic that's already been made into a movie needs to bring out something new, and Julie Taymor does that magnificently with the staging, but fails to say anything special about the characters."

Verdict:  Not as much of a train wreck as the tabloids will make you think... but pretty close. Points for taking risks though. That doesn't happen often in the age of Mamma Mia. 6.5 / 10

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