The Voice‘s own theatre critic, Michael Feingold, refused to jump the gun and see the Spider-Man musical before its official opening date. Many of his peers wrote scathing reviews based on preview shows, which he argues isn’t exactly fair. We’re going to be far more unfair; what follows is our review of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. (FULL DISCLOSURE: We have not seen Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark):
When I arrived at Foxwoods Theatre Friday night, paramedics were pushing a gurney past a crowd of bewildered spectators. A red, gloved hand dangled from beneath the sheet and frayed webbing from its wrist dragged in a 42nd Street puddle. A theatre worker emerged from the lobby and made an announcement:
“The lead role of Spider-Man will be performed by an understudy tonight.”
It is not an exaggeration to say that seeing a dead actor being wheeled into a waiting ambulance was by far the best part of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
After taking my seat, I could hardly believe the putrid smell coming from the orchestra. Five minutes transpired and the rancid symphony escalated. It became clear that the entire brass section was passing gas. I would have excused myself to vomit, but just as I prepared my escape, the lights went down.
When the curtain rose, one of the corners had accidentally attached itself to the ponytail of a young girl sitting in the first row. She shrieked and screamed an unholy yell as she was hoisted 50 feet into the air. Once she became hoarse and her frantic squirming subsided, a voice from the PA system boomed, “The show must go on!”
It did, and I am ashamed to admit I forgot about the little girl after the first tepid and uninspired musical number.
At intermission, a visibly drunk woman unleashed a series of vulgar insults at my guests and me before throwing an entire box of Milk Duds at my head. It wasn’t until after I had handkerchiefed the milk chocolate from my cheek that I realized that the woman was, in fact, director Julie Taymor.
Her drunken outburst was only the second worst thing she did that night; the worst being directing this coiled, steaming piece of cat discharge disguised as a musical.
The second act was even more excruciating than the first. It was so long that most of the audience had organized a rudimentary civilization by the closing number. They had a full social structure, strength-based hierarchy, and religion. The high priest’s first action was to declare Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark the devil. The actors spent the curtain call dodging make-shift projectiles made out of Playbills.
I had thought that once it had ended, I would no longer be haunted by this miserable show. That outlook changed after a routine physical the next day showed that I had contracted a particularly violent strain of gonorrhea from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
This unfortunate ailment will go away with a few cycles of antibiotics. Too bad the same can’t be said for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark
Music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge; book by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger; directed by Julie Taymor.