Say, Let’s Check In on the Spidey-Man Musical!


?When last I posted about the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical, the official opening premiere had been delayed a fifth time to March, but the show managed to go several weeks with killing or injuring any of its cast members. Oh, and Bono and Julie Taymor were rewriting the end so it made some kind of sense. I had assumed that the show was more or less on track, whether for success or failure, and it was no longer interesting enough to cover.

I was wrong.

The New York Times went to the show’s practice performance last night, and… well, get a spoon and a bib, because the schadenfreude is delicious and you’re not going to want to spill a single drop. My favorite highlights from Ben Brantley’s review include:

? “This production should play up regularly and resonantly the promise that
things could go wrong. Because only when things go wrong in this
production does it feel remotely right — if, by right, one means
? “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?””
? “You are of course entitled to disagree with our decision. But from what I
saw on Saturday night, “Spider-Man” is so grievously broken in every
respect that it is beyond repair. Fans of Ms. Taymor’s work on the
long-running musical “The Lion King,” adapted from the animated Walt Disney feature, will have to squint charitably to see evidence of her talent.”
? “Often you feel as if you were watching the installation of Christmas windows at a fancy department store.”
? “Nothing looks truly new, including the much-vaunted flying sequences in
which some poor sap is strapped into an all-too-visible harness and
hoisted uneasily above the audience. (Aren’t they doing just that across
the street in “Mary Poppins”?”
? “I get the impression that Arachne, as the ultimate all-controlling
artist, is the only character who much interests Ms. Taymor, but that
doesn’t mean that she makes sense.”
? “[The Geek Chorus discusses] the heady philosophical implications of Spider-Man’s identity
while making jokes in which the notion of free will is confused with the
plot of the movie “Free Willy.”

AAARRRRGGGHH. Just in case you ever, ever begin to feel bad about hating the Spider-Man musical, re-read that sentence above and realized your loathing is thoroughly justified. There’s still more after the jump:

Now, one more:

? “Calamity struck, and it was a real-life (albeit
small) calamity — not some tedious, confusing tripe involving a pretty
girl dangling from a skyscraper and supervillains laying siege to
Manhattan. And not the more general and seriously depressing disaster
that was the sum of the mismatched parts that had been assembled

No, an honest-to-gosh, show-stopping glitch
occurred, just as the title character of this new musical was about to
vanquish or be vanquished by the evil Green Goblin. Never fully
explained “mechanical difficulties” were announced by an amplified voice
(not immediately distinguishable from the other amplified voices we had
been hearing for what felt like forever), as the actors in the scene
deflated before our eyes. And for the first time that night something
like genuine pleasure spread through the house.”

To sum up: The only time the audience enjoyed the musical was when something went wrong. Everything that went right? It sucked. I highly recommend you read the full article here,
assuming you haven’t gorged enough on the musical’s misfortunes. I’ll
be here, licking my fingers and hating Julie Taymor and U2 so fucking much. Infinite thanks to Jade for the tip.