Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Turn Off The Dark

The first reviews are in for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

They are just brutal.

Some choice cuts from the BBC News Article:
  • In the New York Times, Brantley admitted he was breaking a traditional embargo but said he had decided to see the show around the time it was supposed to have opened prior to the most recent postponement. "From what I saw on Saturday night, Spider-Man is so grievously broken in every respect that it is beyond repair," he wrote.
  • The Washington Post's Peter Marks, who called it "a shrill, insipid mess" with a "convoluted" story. The score, he continued, was "devoid of personality" in a show whose "optimal audience might be non-English-speaking".
  • The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney called it "an ungainly mess of a show that smacks of out-of-control auteurial arrogance".
Ouch. The only way these critics could feel worse about the show is if they had to play Spidey himself, leaving the theater with broken wrists, backs, ribs and skulls.

No mention of how much they liked "Swiss Miss". None. Can you imagine how bad a show has to be to see that character on stage, dolled up like a Japanese horror film mixed with every villain the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ever fought, and still have bigger fish to fry in your critique? Wow.

They've already pre-sold out a large number of shows, but I have to assume that this is only because everyone likes to think they like a train-wreck. I can't imagine anyone who's heard any news about the show getting a ticket expecting to be awed by how amazingly fun, inspired and entertaining it will be. I really think that most people want to go because they want to be there when something horrible happens. They want to have their own little outrage that they paid money for something truly awful. The fact that the production hasn't started to market directly to this audiance is sad, but I suppose it's too much to expect an ad reading "Come See Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark! You'll hate the show, but love telling your friends how bad it was!"

Tickets range from 275$ in the orchestra to 95$ on the balcony. That is a lot of money for the privilege to complain.

Of course, the producers of the show have a different take. From Movieline, here are their comments:
  • Following on the heels of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark spokesman Rick Miramontez saying the onslaught of negative reviews was "Uncool," producer Michael Cohl has taken things one step further. “Any of the people who review the show and say it has no redeeming value are just not legitimate reviewers, period.”
Don't like the show, Mr. Critic? Then you are not only uncool, but we no longer consider you a critic. So there!

The show is slated to open in March.

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