De-Taymored ‘Turn Off the Dark’ Faces Critics


‘Does It Still Suck?’ You Ask?  Read On!

The ‘reimagined’ Broadway musical ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ has been unleashed to the bloodthirsty harpies of Broadway’s critics and press.

The New York Times has a roundup of critical reaction, which range from ‘Dear God… the horror’ to ‘Hey, if you’re a 10 year old that’s not precocious then this might be for you!’ The reviews tend to portray a musical that’s been dumbed down a bit to make it actually coherent, with splashes of the original still present to remind you that Julie Taymor once lived there.

But most importantly, does it still… suck? Some highlights from the press:

The New York Times: “This singing comic book is no longer the ungodly, indecipherable mess it was in February. It’s just a bore.”

Newsday: “So, is it better? Yes, the story makes sense now and, so far, no one has fallen down. But is it better than junk-food theater in a jumbo package? No.”

Time Out New York: “What can we say about this marvelously morphing musical? It’s a hell of a lot better. ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ is now a coherent and mostly enjoyable entertainment for children and adults, albeit one still saddled with Taymor’s vestigial nuttiness and freshly dug plot holes all its own.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “The new ‘Spider-Man’ is all for fun, a live-on-stage comic book, pure and simple – precisely what the last version wasn’t, and what its team, on hiatus for several weeks of rewrites and rehearsals, reimagined. It will by no means assume a spot in the pantheon of great Broadway musicals, but it’s now far more than a tortured curiosity.”

The Washington Post: “This effects-driven musical is still situated a wide canyon’s distance from good.”


The Globe and Mail
: “While the musical has moments of beautiful imagery and genuinely exciting aerial sequences, as well as the basic storytelling competence it lacked for most of its history, only rarely does it soar.”

So there you have it, and there are more reviews at the New York Times website. To the critics ‘reimagined’ Broadway Spidey has at least stepped up from “Please God, Make It Stop!” to “Meh” and even, to some, “Yay!”

Another thing a lot of the reviews seemed to mention was the refreshing lack of life-threatening injuries or mechanical mishaps.  That’s a great thing to hear, especially in a show you want to run more than once per day.  I’d been afraid that people were going to die during this thing but maybe they’ve finally nailed that down.  Let’s hope so.

Oh, and so someone can call me a “hater” today, the Green Goblin costume in this is still asinine and laughable.  There. You may pelt me with arrows.


–George Berryman!

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