Spidey Battles Scathing Reviews

In a huge shift from tradition, a number of theatre critics for major papers around the country recently broke a review embargo on the beleaguered $65 million Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

The results generally weren’t so pretty.

The show, which is scheduled to debut March 15, is still in its preview phase at the Foxwoods Theatre and has been plagued by technical glitches, cancellations, money woes and injuries to cast members leading to three delays of opening night.

But enough is enough, many critics said. “Spider-Man” began previews Nov. 28 and has already logged more than 66 performances before paying audiences – plenty of time to work out the kinks and face evaluation.

While publications including the New York Post and New York Magazine at least gave the show props for being “equal parts exciting and atrocious” and “unpredictably entertaining,” most papers weren’t so generous.

“The sheer ineptitude of this show, inspired by the Spider-Man comic books, loses its shock value early,” New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley wrote. “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?’”

And then there was the Washington Post’s critique of the show.

“What’s apparent after 170 spirit-snuffing minutes in the Foxwoods Theater – interrupted by the occasional burst of aerial distraction – is that director Julie Taymor, of ‘The Lion King’ fame, left a few essential items off her lavish shopping list:

1. Coherent plot
2. Tolerable music
3. Workable sets

“To be sure, Taymor has found a way to send her superhero soaring above the audience. And yet, the creature that most often spreads its wings in the Foxwoods is a turkey.”

“Spider-Man” spokesman Rick Miramontez called the “pile-on” by critics a “huge disappointment” in a statement. “Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid.”